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FAO calls for stronger early warning systems to protect people and poultry as avian influenza spreads

10/12/2021

Cases of avian influenza are rising globally, with 272 additional events of outbreaks in birds recorded worldwide by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in little more than a month.

The FAO data records the increase since 27 October 2021. Increased avian influenza activity has been seen in the Asia-Pacific region, but also in Africa and Europe during the past year and it is suspected that wild birds may play a role in spreading the virus globally.

In addition, according to the the World Health Organization (WHO), influenza A(H5N6) has caused 52 human infections in the Asia-Pacific region since 2014, half of which have occurred in 2021, and mostly in people with close contact with poultry prior to infection.

 “Avian influenza viruses are constantly evolving, and we must be vigilant to detact new subtypes of the virus that could devastate poultry production systems in the region or infect humans, which can lead to a pandemic,” said FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Regional Manager Kachen Wongsathapornchai.

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