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Creation of a new OIE/FAO worldwide mechanism to fight against Avian Influenza

The OIE/FAO 3-day regional conference on Avian Influenza control ended today in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam). It was jointly organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). Chief Veterinary Officers from 28 countries called upon governments in the region and the international community to make the fight against the lethal virus a top priority and to commit more financial resources to national and regional anti-bird flu campaigns carried out by Veterinary Services. The conference recommended several strategies to reduce the circulation of the virus in animals. The meeting agreed that vaccines used appropriately can be a strong weapon in the fight against the disease in poultry in the countries currently infected. Regional cooperation has also been indicated as being a crucial factor in the fight against the disease.

In this respect, the OIE recalls the importance of the New worldwide Avian Influenza Network which will be officially launched during the OIE/FAO International Scientific Conference on Avian Influenza to be held at the OIE Headquarters in Paris, (France), 7-8 April 2005 and which aims at:

 

  • - collaborating with the WHO human Influenza Network on issues relating to the animal-human interface
  • - developing the research on avian influenza
  • - offering veterinary expertise and new skills to Member Countries to assist in the control and eradication of AI.

Through an active and permanent cooperation, the Network will develop and harmonise synergistic research projects in different parts of the world. Sharing permanently updated scientific information and efficient control methods of the animal disease will provide a pro-active approach in helping infected countries to eradicate the disease and free countries to protect themselves.

While reminding that eradicating the disease at the source is the most effective way to avoid a human pandemic, the OIE also believes that it is crucial for human medical research to have a timely access to the animal strains of the virus in order to prepare the most efficient vaccines for humans.

The OIE/FAO Network will also gather information on national and regional epidemiological activities and will be instrumental in the collection and despatch of virus strains to OIE/FAO Reference Laboratories. Wherever required, virus strains will be shared with the WHO Network of Influenza Reference laboratories.

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