Over 30 Countries Agree: Bird Flu Preparedness is Key

March 16, 2007

The threat of the bird flu virus mutating into a strain capable of causing a pandemic intensifies amidst a growing number of outbreaks and human cases in different parts of the world.

Since 2003, a total of 168 people have died out of the 277 infected, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Over 30 countries have sent their own public health officials and scientists to the 4th International Bird Flu Summit, which started yesterday, to review past efforts and come out with better strategies to prevent the spread of the H5N1 virus.

They agreed that pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery are key elements that should be developed or incorporated into national strategic measures against bird flu.

Through collaboration of resources, improved risk communication, healthcare coordination, rapid emergency response, and effective strategies planning, the threat could be minimized.

Majority of the participants come from the U.S., Kenya, Nigeria, and Albania. Germany, Italy, Greece, Romania, Indonesia, Scotland, Kosovo, Czech Republic, Kyrgyzstan, Angola, and Georgia are also represented.

Policy makers and business leaders are also attending to address the socio-economic factors being affected by the H5N1 outbreaks and to strengthen business continuity in case a pandemic does develop.

Yesterday, the United Nation’s Senior Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, Dr. David Nabarro, cited the importance of global solidarity in the campaign against bird flu. He said that countries need to stay open regarding sharing to the rest of the world vital information and resources, such as viral samples, that will help prevent the spread of this virulent strain of influenza.

He also said that the campaign against bird flu must prioritize the medical and vaccine needs of countries hit by the disease.

Source: Bird Flu Summit

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