The H5N1 avian influenza (AI) virus has infected two pigs on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, a senior agriculture ministry official said.
Reuters press agency reported this, having spoken to Indonesian agricultural ministry autohorities.
Infection in July
The pigs turn out to have been found infected by AI , in July 2006, in the regencies of Gianyar and Tabanan at Bali. The discovery was made by researchers of the veterinary faculty of Udayana University. It remains unclear if the pigs died.
Pigs are a concern because they are susceptible to many of the viruses that infect humans. The animals can act as ‘mixing vessels’ in which genetic material from AI viruses can swap genes with human influenza viruses, potentially producing new and deadly strains for which humans have no immunity.
So far, 52 people have died of bird flu, the highest of any country, with the majority of deaths occurring since the beginning of this year. Worldwide, 148 people have died of bird flu since 2003.
Last May, pigs tested positive for AI on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.