The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) welcomes the world partnership against bird flu

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) welcomes the world partnership against bird flu as an important step in dealing with a potential human pandemic, while recalling the importance of controlling the disease at its animal source.

Returning from his two days mission to Russia where he participated in the OIE Seminar on the "Structure of national Veterinary Services of OIE Member Countries in Europe", the OIE Director General, Dr Bernard Vallat, said that such international cooperation is crucial to face the problem of avian influenza.

"Under the present circumstances with regard to the spread of avian influenza, I believe that it is of particular significance that the seminar took place here in Russia." Dr Vallat said. "It is actually the first time that a European Conference with high level national representatives of about 50 OIE Member Countries of Europe is entirely dedicated to the structures of the national Veterinary Services. The public is becoming increasingly aware of the global benefit of the work done by Veterinary Services in the field of prevention of zoonosis. The present concern about the spread of avian influenza is a very good example of how important it is to make relevant public resources available for efficient national veterinary services which are crucial not only to agricultural economies, public health including food safety, but also to the prevention of potential human pandemics."

"Countries need to step up control efforts and more emphasis must be put on animal health issues to control avian influenza at the animal source", Dr Vallat added.

The recommendations of the seminar, considering the appropriate implementation of the OIE international standards relating to the quality and evaluation of veterinary services as a priority, will allow European countries to increase permanently their cooperation in the control of animal diseases including those transmissible to humans.

The seminar also high lightened the urgent need to set up, under OIE auspices, an independent international body in charge of the evaluation of national veterinary services in order to assess their compliance with OIE standards for quality and efficiency.

Furthermore, Dr Vallat accepted that an international assessment of the epidemiological situation of wild birds coordinated by the OIE be urgently carried out in Siberia prior to their migration to other parts of the world.