Asia still struggles to contain bird flu

Related tags Bird flu Influenza Fao

The global threat posed by bird flu is still very much in evidence,
a point the FAO is emphasising as it urges countries to remain
vigilant in light of fresh outbreaks.

With around 80 million birds so far culled in Asia, the organisation says that the spread of the avian influenza virus in several Asian countries is still not under control.

Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Laos continue to report new outbreaks in poultry, but on the brighter side Thailand has reported no new outbreaks.

In view of the situation, the FAO​ has called upon countries, both in the Asian region and internationally, to remain vigilant as further outbreaks continue to occur.

The co-operation with countries affected by bird flu has significantly improved. Countries realise that co-operation and transparency are absolutely essential for the fight against bird flu, FAO said.

While China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have set up information and response structures, the situation remains very difficult in some of the affected countries, with new outbreaks being reported on a daily basis and, perhaps more worrying, several more cases of the disease reported in young children.

Especially in poorer countries, the emergency response has been slow due to the lack of resources such as qualified veterinary staff, diagnostic tools and transport. In addition, the urgently required administrative and political structures to run an effective emergency campaign are often not yet in place.

FAO also suggested that the co-ordination of donor assistance and the increased provision of emergency inputs should be better. It should be ensured that funds reach the target beneficiaries, the organisation added.

Veterinarians from more than 20 countries will meet from 26 to 28 February in Bangkok to discuss about the economic impact of the avian flu crisis, strategies to control the disease, including emergency measures, and how to restore poultry industries and improve regional cooperation.

Hosted by the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the meeting is jointly organised by FAO and OIE, with support from WHO.

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