On the trail of avian influenza

On the trail of avian influenza

23/03/2010

An international team of experts has warned that while more is known today about the role of wild birds in the spread of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus than ever before, significant information gaps remain unfilled as government and public attention is shifting elsewhere.

"Waning attention to H5N1 HPAI is reducing surveillance and research opportunities, negatively affecting capacity building and coordination between environmental and agricultural authorities, and impacting efforts to further refine understanding of the epidemiology and the ecology of the virus," the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds said in a statement following a review meeting held at FAO's Rome headquarters.

Established in 2005 and jointly led by FAO and the UNEP-Convention on Migratory Species, the task force is a collaborative partnership involving 15 international organizations, including several UN agencies, other intergovernmental groups, and specialist non-governmental organizations.