Bali officials are on alert again after 2 children at Denpasar's Sanglah General Hospital were diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza. Five- and 10-year-old siblings, resident in Bangli district, were admitted to the hospital on Friday night [7 Oct 2011] with symptoms of avian influenza and placed in isolation. The hospital's medical and nursing director, Anak Agung Ngurah Jaya Kusuma, said on Sunday [9 Oct 2011] that the children had been in direct contact with dead poultry around their house and were treated at a local health clinic before being brought to Sanglah.

Officials are still waiting for results of further tests from Udayana University and the Health Ministry.

Bali Animal Husbandry Agency head Putu Sumantra said a team had been deployed to Bangli, but preliminary results showed no trace of H5N1 [presumably in poultry - Mod.CP]. He said that given the preliminary test, he was not ready to conclude that the birds had died of avian influenza. "Nevertheless, we remain vigilant. Some of the dead birds have been sent for further lab tests; the area has been sterilized, and we have taken samples from family members," he said.

A total of 2 people died of the virus in 2007 and 2008 [in Bali], but the province has still not enacted a 2005 gubernatorial regulation banning the import of poultry into the island from other areas. Denpasar agricultural quarantine chief Saiful Muhtadin said many attempts have been made to smuggle poultry into Bali, especially through Padangbai and Gilimanuk harbors.