Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Fight against bird flu needs more international support

Viet Nam, 16 Feb 2005 -- Regional conference on avian flu to be held in Viet Nam

Bangkok/Rome - The international community needs to step up the battle against bird flu in affected Asian countries in order to avoid a potential global human influenza pandemic, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) said today.

The virus continues to circulate in poultry, and specifically in wetland ducks in Asia, FAO and OIE said. Major efforts are needed to curb the Avian Influenza virus before other regions of the globe are affected. Countries hit by the H5N1 virus will have to invest more in the control and containment of the disease by improving their animal health and veterinary systems, the two agencies said. Donor funding is required to support national bird flu campaigns, especially in the poorest countries.

A regional meeting on Avian Influenza in animals in Asia will be held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, from 23 to 25 February 2005.

Chief Veterinary Officers from the region, national scientists, representatives of international and regional organizations and donor representatives will discuss scientific advances, diagnosis, surveillance, prevention and control, rehabilitation and restructuring, trade and international cooperation and human health implications.

The meeting is jointly organized by FAO and OIE, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam.

The meeting will take place at the Sofitel hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. Press conferences will be held on the opening and closing days. The sessions, except for the opening session, are closed to journalists.

RAP 05/04

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