“H5N1 avian influenza virus will continue to spread” United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today said H5N1 avian influenza virus is entrenched in some places and will continue to spread, despite improved control efforts.

Czech, German Bird Flu Have Same OriginAs if to underscore the message, new poultry outbreaks were reported today in the Czech Republic and Bangladesh, and more wild birds were reported infected in Germany.

Joseph Domenech, the FAO’s chief veterinary officer, said the response to the virus has improved significantly over the past 3 years, but it remains entrenched in several countries and will continue to spread, according to an FAO news release.

Domenech spoke at a press conference in Rome on the first day of the Technical Meeting on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Human H5N1 Infection, which continues through Jun 29. The meeting was organized by the FAO and several other international agencies.

He said that except in Egypt and Indonesia, human H5N1 cases have been very sporadic. “This achievement is the most important demonstration of the effects of worldwide efforts to contain the H5N1 virus,” he said.

In the approximately 15 countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East where the virus has cropped up in the past 6 months, it was rapidly detected and eliminated or controlled, Domenech said.

“Most countries have been very open about new outbreaks,” he said. “They are better prepared today and have improved their response systems.”

But Domenech cited the recent H5N1 outbreaks in birds in Bangladesh, Ghana, Togo, the Czech Republic, and Germany as illustrations of the need to shun complacency. The threat of a human flu pandemic can’t be ruled out as long as the disease persists in poultry, he said.

He said containment and eradication of the virus will demand a long-term financial and political commitment, especially in the face of the “high risk poultry production and marketing practices that still continue in many countries.” For example, Indonesia has more than 13,000 live poultry markets where birds from different places are brought together.

Domenech also called for increased monitoring of the virus, especially in countries that vaccinate poultry.

“The H5N1 virus is not stable and keeps constantly changing. On one occasion in China last year a new virus strain appeared with different immunologic characteristics which made it necessary to modify vaccines used in the region concerned,” he said. “This emergence of a new strain may have happened again more recently in Indonesia.”

Here is the link to the full article by CIDRAP:

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/avianflu/news/jun2707fao.html

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2 Responses

  1. hey !

    its nice to see an update on this. i have been searching for it for some time now and google pointed me here 😀 Thanks !

  2. […] birdflunewsflash wrote a fantastic post today on “âH5N1 avian influenza virus will continue to spreadâ United …”Here’s ONLY a quick extractDomenech spoke at a press conference in Rome on the first day of the Technical Meeting on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Human H5N1 Infection, which continues through Jun 29. The meeting was organized by the FAO and several other … […]

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