Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Bird flu virus still not under control - FAO urges countries to remain vigilant – around 80 million chickens culled

13 Feb 2004 -- Bangkok, 13 February 2004 -- The spread of the avian influenza virus in several Asian countries is still not under control, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Laos continue to report new outbreaks in poultry, FAO said in a statement issued today. Thailand has reported no new outbreaks.

FAO called upon countries to remain vigilant as further outbreaks continue to occur.

To date, around 80 million chickens have been culled to battle the disease, excluding China (Indonesia 15 million, Pakistan 4 million, Thailand 30 million, Viet Nam 30 million).

Improved cooperation

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

While China, Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam have set up information and response structures, the situation remains very difficult in some of the affected countries.

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.

Regional meeting in Bangkok

FAO also suggested that the coordination of donor assistance and the increased provision of emergency inputs should be better. It should be ensured that funds reach the target beneficiaries, FAO said.

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 organized by FAO and OIE, with support from WHO.

RAP 04/09