Press Releases

    SAG/225
    16 February 2004

    UN Agency Says Bird Flu Virus Still Not Under Control

    (Reissued as received.)

    BANGKOK, 13 February (FAO) -- The spread of the avian influenza virus in several Asian countries is still not under control, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

    Cambodia, China, Indonesia and the Lao People's Democratic Republic continue to report new outbreaks in poultry, the FAO said today.  Thailand has reported no new outbreaks.

    The FAO called upon countries to remain vigilant as further outbreaks continue to occur.

    To date, around 80 million chickens have been culled to battle the   disease, excluding China (Indonesia, 15 million; Thailand, 30 million’ Viet Nam, 30 million; Pakistan, 4 million).

    Improved Cooperation

    The cooperation with countries affected by bird flu has significantly improved.  Countries realize that cooperation and transparency are absolutely essential for the fight against bird flu, the FAO said.

    While China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have set up information and response structures, the situation remains very difficult in some of the affected countries.

    Especially in poorer countries, the emergency response has been slow due to the lack of resources such as qualified veterinary staff, diagnostic tools and transport.

    In addition, the urgently required administrative and political structures to run an effective emergency campaign are often not yet in place.

    The FAO also suggested that the coordination of donor assistance and the increased provision of emergency inputs should be better. It should be ensured that funds reach the target beneficiaries, the FAO said.

    Regional Meeting in Bangkok

    Veterinarians from more than 20 countries will meet from 26 to 28 February in Bangkok to discuss about the economic impact of the avian flu crisis, strategies to control the disease, including emergency measures, and how to restore poultry industries and improve regional cooperation.

    Hosted by the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the meeting is jointly organized by the FAO and the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), with support from the World Health Organization (WHO).

    FAO Newsroom: http://www.fao.org/english/newsroom/; Contact: Erwin Northoff, FAO Information Officer, e-mail:  erwin.northoff@fao.org, tel: (+39) 06 570 53105

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