Living in Indonesia, A Site for Expatriates

Check out What's New on the Expat Web Site
Information for foreigners moving to Indonesia

Home » Practical Information » Health and Medical Concerns

Avian Influenza in Indonesia

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

Translate this Page

Bookmark and Share
Links to hundreds of articles giving practical information for expats moving to Indonesia
Post your questions or communicate with other expats in Indonesia on the Expat Forum
Looking for a place to stay in Indonesia - check out the Housing Forum
Looking for a weekend or holiday getaway ... visit some of Indonesia's Great Escapes
Advice and resources for conducting business in Indonesia
Info on expatriate community organizations in Indonesia
Shops, Products and Services
Links to other useful Indonesian or expat-related web sites
Expat Humor - spread the joys of Living in Indonesia through e-postcards
Site Map
Return to the Home Page
expatriate information for Indonesia

Avian influenza H5N1 is entrenched in birds in Indonesia. Human cases occur sporadically, and famililal clusters of human-to-human spread of the disease have been recorded.  Over 160 human cases have been confirmed between 2005 and 2011, around 75% of which have been fatal.

Avian flu (bird flu) refers to a family of influenza viruses that mainly affect birds. One strain, H5N1, quickly kills domestic poultry flocks. It has been detected in more than 60 countries and is now permanently present in a number of them. H5N1 can infect humans. Infected people usually become severely ill, and about 60 percent of them die (see the WHO table).

The droppings, secretions, blood, and organs of infected birds contain virus. People who have close contact with sick birds are at the highest risk of contracting H5N1, since they are the most likely to inhale the virus or get it in their mouth, nose or eyes. Human cases most commonly occur among poultry farmers in underdeveloped countries - especially those who are unaware of the risk of avian flu, and/or cannot afford to follow internationally recommended precautions. Travelers and expatriates are at relatively low risk of infection.
H5N1 cannot currently spread easily from person to person. Almost all human cases have struck individuals. Very rarely, a small group of people has been infected. No large-scale human outbreaks have yet been reported. If the virus develops the ability to spread easily from person to person, it may cause the next influenza pandemic.

H5N1 can be killed by washing skin with regular soap and cleaning surfaces with regular detergents and disinfectants. It is killed in food via thorough cooking methods.

To reduce the chance of infection, when in affected countries:

  • Avoid live animal markets and poultry and pig farms.
  • Do not handle sick or dead birds or other animals, including cats.
  • Avoid touching any surfaces that may be contaminated by poultry droppings, and do not swim in any body of water that is used by birds.
  • Always maintain high levels of personal hygiene. Frequent handwashing is very important. Wash hands before and after food preparation.
  • Thoroughly cook poultry products and eggs before eating. Avoid raw poultry products, such as raw duck blood. Also thoroughly cook pork products.

Additional info on Avian Flu from the US Center for Disease Control

If you have medical-related questions about living in Indonesia to ask of medical professionals, see Ask the Experts.

We trust this information will assist you in making correct choices regarding your health and welfare. However, it is not intended to be a substitute for personalized advice from your medical adviser.

Our appreciation to the Coordinating Doctors of International SOS, an AEA Company who have contributed this article in response to a health threat faced by expatriates in Indonesia.

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

Practical Information |  Expat Forum |  Site Map  |  Search |  Home Page |  Contact

Return to top

Copyright © 1997-2018, Expat Web Site Association Jakarta, Indonesia All rights reserved. The information on Living in Indonesia, A Site for Expatriates may not be retransmitted or reproduced in any form without permission. This information has been compiled from sources which we, the Expat Web Site Association and volunteers related to this site, believe to be reliable. While reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the facts are accurate and up-to-date, opinions and commentary are fair and reasonable, we accept no responsibility for them. The information contained does not make any recommendation upon which you can rely without further personal consideration and is not an offer or a solicitation to buy any products or services from us. Opinions and statements constitute the judgment of the contributors to this web site at the time the information was written and may change without notice.