investigate the role of animals in spreading SARS
10 July 2003,
Rome -- FAO will send a senior Australian veterinarian
to China on Friday for a three-week visit to help coordinate an
international investigation into the roles animals might play in
spreading the deadly SARS virus.
Gleeson, a leading viral disease expert from FAO's
Collaborating Centre at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory
in Geelong, will visit several Chinese provinces, FAO said.
He will be a focal point in communication
between Chinese authorities, FAO, the World Health Organization
and international researchers.
"FAO has taken the lead in providing this
international collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture in
China. My role is to assist the Government of China to develop
their programme to investigate animal related aspects of the
SARS epidemic," Dr Gleeson said.
"During the mission we will collate
information on research to date and identify areas that require
further research. We will also explore where international
collaboration will assist China to quickly resolve some key
issues, such as the need for diagnostic tests for
animals," he said.
need to know the natural host of the virus and understand if
other animal species may become infected and are able to
transmit it so we can be prepared to prevent epidemics of SARS
arising in the future," he said.