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FAO calls for preventing human influenza pandemic
www.chinaview.cn 2005-02-23 13:19:51

    HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam, Feb. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Containing the bird flu virus to the greatest extent possible and reducing the risk of infection in poultry and farmed free-range ducks will helpto prevent a global human influenza pandemic, the UN food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official said on Wednesday.

    It is in the interest of both developed and developing countries to invest in the control and containment of avian influenza. Our objective is to protect human health locally and internationally, and to promote food security, and our strategy isto control the disease at source, said Samuel Jutzi, director of FAO's Animal Production and Health Division.

    This means addressing the transmission of the virus where the disease occurs, in poultry, specifically free-range chickens and wetland dwelling ducks, and thus curbing the virus in the region before it spreads to other parts of the world, Jutzi told the Regional Meeting on Avian Influenza held in Vietnam's southern Ho Chi Minh City opened on Feb. 23.

    The disease could, in the worst case, lead to a new global human influenza pandemic, Jutzi said.

    There is an increasing risk of avian influenza spread that no poultry keeping country can afford to ignore. Bird flu will probably persist for many years in some of the countries that recently had disease outbreaks, Jutzi said. Wild birds, particularly ducks, are considered as natural hosts of the bird flu virus and it will therefore be very difficult to completely eliminate the disease.

    However, current evidence suggests that trade in live poultry, mixing of avian species on farms and at live bird markets, and poor biosecurity in poultry production contribute much more to disease spread than wild bird movements, he said.

    FAO advises against the destruction of wild birds and their habitats as such practice is unlikely contribute significantly to disease control and is inappropriate from a wildlife conservation viewpoint, he added.

    The three-day meeting was jointly organized by FAO and the World Animal Health Organization, in collaboration with the world Health Organization and hosted by the government of Vietnam.

    Since the end of 2004, bird flu epidemic has lead 17 people to be infected in Vietnam, of whom 12 has died. The epidemic has alsomade some 1.5 million poultry slayed. Enditem กก

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