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UN Warns Asian Bird Flu Outbreaks Still Occurring

UN Warns That Asian Bird Flu Outbreaks Still Occurring, Calls For Continued Control Efforts

As officials from nearly two dozen Asia-Pacific countries prepared to gather in Bangkok for an emergency meeting on bird flu, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today warned that outbreaks of the highly virulent disease are still occurring and stressed the need for continued control campaigns.

The agency estimates that about 100 million birds have already died or been culled to battle the virus, which has also led to 32 confirmed human cases, 22 of them fatal.

Surveillance and control strategies should be continued, including eliminating all birds in infected production units and strengthening biosecurity measures, FAO said. “The situation in some countries is still unclear and further epidemiological investigations are required to get the virus under control,” the agency added.

Countries affected by the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus are Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, the Republic of Korea, Laos, Thailand and Viet Nam. FAO has sent disease experts to several of these nations to assess the situation and assist them in the battle against the disease.

The findings of these missions will be instrumental in understanding the origin of the epidemic and the factors that lead to such a wide and massive spread of the virus, it said.

The Bangkok meeting, from 26 to 28 February, will bring together officials from the 23 Asia-Pacific countries, international experts, donor and development organizations to discuss control strategies and rehabilitation measures.

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