14 May 2013 - From 2 to 3 May 2013, FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP) organized an expert technical meeting on H7N9 on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Bangkok, Thailand. Within a matter of days, FAO and USAID convened a high-level group of international experts from around the world to discuss the latest technical information on the H7N9 threat and identify key elements for immediate action as well as longer-term H7N9 prevention and control. Attendees included FAO RAP, FAO headquarters, FAO Viet Nam, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), USAID, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Services (AFRIMS) and broader PREDICT partners.
After reviewing the status of H7N9 in human and animal health sectors and the risks posed by the virus, the experts worked intensively to determine the best course of action across their various disciplines and expertise. Surveillance experts shared short-, medium- and longer-term strategies, laboratory scientists presented the latest H7N9 diagnostic tests and protocols, and response coordinators and managers highlighted methods for immediate collaboration between human health, animal health and other relevant sectors both among at-risk countries in the region and between countries and the international community.
Directly benefitting from the meeting, experts from these wide ranging fields, countries and organizations were able to review the latest updates on surveillance, risk assessment, risk management and diagnostic protocols and algorithms. The FAO draft documents for surveillance, risk assessment and risk management were also shared, along with lab protocols and references plus specific plans for regional TCPs for monitoring H7N9 in the animal sector. These outputs were well received by donor, and USAID thanked the participants for their emergency attendance and specifically their contribution to the ongoing benefits of PREDICT and IDENTIFY.