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Cablegate: Ai - Press Conference Disputing Human-to-Human

VZCZCXRO7323
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2432/01 2471007
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 041007Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6060
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA PRIORITY
INFO RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J07/CATMED/CAT//
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8120
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1102
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1029
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 7611

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 002432

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, G/AIAG AND OES
USAID FOR ANE/CLEMENTS AND GH/CARROLL
DEPT ALSO PASS TO HHS/WSTEIGER/MSTLOUIS/ABDOO AND HHS/NIH
GENEVA FOR WHO/HOHMAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO AMED CASC EAGR AMGT PGOV ID
SUBJECT: AI - PRESS CONFERENCE DISPUTING HUMAN-TO-HUMAN
TRANSMISSION

1.(U) Minister of Health Fadilah Supari convened a press conference
on September 3 to dispute recently published findings from a Seattle
study describing limited human-to-human transmission from a 2006
cluster of Avian Influenza cases in Sumatra. Although the Ministry
of Health (MOH) distributed talking points to press conference
attendees, Supari strayed off message during the question and answer
period. She alleged that the authors timed the study's publication
to create public alarm in advance of the Climate Change Conference
of Parties 13 (COP-13) planned for Bali in December. Indonesian
press ran stories in a number of English and Bahasa Indonesian
newspapers. Press quoted Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare
Abizural Bakrie as also refuting the study. End Summary.

----------------------------
MINISTER ALLEGES CONSPIRACY
----------------------------

2. (U) At a September 3 press conference, Minister of Health Fadilah
Supari rejected findings from a recently published study in the U.S.
Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases that found statistical
evidence of limited human-to-human transmission from a May 2006
cluster of cases in Sumatra. Researcher Ira Longini and colleagues
at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle wrote the
paper, noting that they had examined the 2006 cluster of bird flu
cases and had found evidence of limited human-to-human transmission.
MOH staff distributed Supari's talking points (see para. 5), which
claimed that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta
supported the Minister's claim that no human transmission has
occurred.

3. (SBU) Embassy sources present at the conference noted that the
Minister strayed from her talking points. She claimed that the
study was published in order to derail the climate change conference
scheduled for December in Bali. "There must be a conspiracy against
Bali as an international tourist destination. This must be not a
coincidence. In Bali we will have a very significant conference on
climate change, where developing countries are fighting their rights
on the global warming issue. This paper must be part of conspiracy
against it!"

4. (U) Numerous English and Indonesian newspapers reported on
Supari's press conference although only one paper (Media Indonesia)
described the alleged conspiracy to derail the Bali conference. The
paper quotes Supari as saying "The study was conducted in 2006, but
it was not published until this month. I think this is not a mere
coincidence." Other newspapers focused primarily on the talking
points provided at the press conference. Press also quoted
Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Abizural Bakrie as also
refuting the study.

-----------------------------------------
TRANSLATION OF PRESS CONFERENCE STATEMENT
--------------------------------------------- ----


5. (U) The following is an informal translation of the Minister's
talking points provided at the press conference.

--There have been news reports recently about the study done by Ira
Longini and team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and
University of Washington, Seattle, Washington that used
statistical methods to conclude limited human-to-human transmission
in the Karo cluster, North Sumatra.

--Medically, a study with a statistical approach should not be used.
Responding to the results of the study, I stated here that until
today, avian influenza cases in Indonesia are still being
transmitted from birds to humans. There has been no human-to-human
transmission.

--This has been confirmed by the sequencing results of H5N1 virus
from Indonesia - including the latest bird flu case in Bali - done
by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
Atlanta,
United States, which has proven that there has been no

JAKARTA 00002432 002 OF 002


human-to-human transmission.

--According to the World Health Organization (WHO), to prove if
there has been any human-to-human transmission of the bird flu
virus, epidemiological and virological signs should be noted.

--The statistical analysis that was done by Dr. Longini's study is
interesting, but does not offer anything new. Until now, there is no
test to confirm or prove human-to-human transmission.

--The study was not a virological, clinical or epidemiological
analysis. Thus WHO concludes that broad and sustained,
human-to-human transmission of H5N1 viruses has not occurred
anywhere in the world,
including in Indonesia. Therefore the world remains on phase 3 of
the pandemic phase - which means transmissions remain from animal to
human.

-- The study indicates more efforts are needed to prevent a
pandemic, including intensifying public communications, increasing
control in animals (particularly in poultry) and accelerating the
process of developing a realistic pandemic preparedness plan. In
general, the study will motive us to work harder and more rapidly.

Hume

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