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News & features archive, 2010


FAO supports HPAI control efforts in India

27 April 2010 – Cross-border trade of poultry and poultry products is facilitated by land-based movement corridors that link production clusters with consumption centres throughout South and Southeast Asia. Although cross-border trade is motivated by profit-seeking incentives amongst interested parties on both sides of border, it oftentimes comes with unintended consequences. For instance, animals can carry diseases that can also infect humans, thereby posing public health threats on either side of the border.

People’s actions bring disease agents and animal hosts together; therefore, people involved in poultry rearing and trade need to be seen as critical in terms of animal disease risk management within and across borders, especially of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) which continues to cause economic losses to Asian poultry farmers and traders, and also poses a pandemic threat due to its endemic nature in a few countries in Asia.

In response, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the Animal Resource Development Department (ARDD) of the West Bengal [India] Government, organized a series of two-day orientation/sensitization workshops titled ‘strengthening cross-border emergency preparedness and response mechanisms against HPAI’. The workshops aimed at raising awareness about disease prevention and control, and also equipping people with the necessary knowledge to contain a sudden outbreak of HPAI in high-risk border regions.

One of the most pressing challenges to avian influenza risk management in the years to come is identifying and understanding which anthropogenic practices effectively reduce disease risks while improving people’s ability to supply stable and safer poultry commodities and protect rural livelihoods. This can only be achieved by actively engaging communities and those involved in poultry production and marketing systems, and by understanding crucial socio economic factors, in particular those related with incentives, practices and trading patterns.

For its part, FAO will continue to contribute to the national and regional efforts in Asia to monitor and control emerging infectious diseases, and mitigate its impacts by promoting comprehensive and proactive approaches to disease risk management that combine interlocking elements such as foresight, prevention, impact mitigation, early detection, and swift and effective animal health responses.