No announcement yet.

UN Bird Flu Conference in Rome

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • UN Bird Flu Conference in Rome

    Scientists to gather in Rome for UN bird flu conference
    25/05/2006 - 13:36:21

    Some 300 scientists and animal experts from around 100 countries will gather in Rome next week for a conference aimed at examining the role of wild birds in spreading the deadly strain of bird flu.

    The May 30-31 conference is organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), based in Rome, and by the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health.

    The key issue will be the role of wild birds, as opposed to domestic poultry, in spreading the virus.

    According to Joseph Domenech, FAO?s chief veterinary officer, the main problem is that it is not known for sure whether wild birds can act as long-term carriers of highly pathogenic forms of bird flu, such as the H5N1.

    ?Where they are not reservoirs but only victims of contamination from poultry, then prevention has to remain at the domestic bird level,? he said.

    ?But where they are, we have to find out which birds are involved and where they migrate to in order to prevent other wild birds and poultry being infected.?

    Also on the agenda of conference is surveillance, risk analysis and disease management, FAO said.

  • #2
    Re: UN Bird Flu Conference in Rome

    Scientists say wild birds only partly to blame for spreading bird flu

    ROME (AP) - Wild birds carry only part of the blame for spreading the deadly strain of bird flu, and experts said Tuesday that they should not be killed but rather studied to understand how the virus spreads.

    Scientists at an international conference on bird flu in Rome urged countries to refrain from mass killings of birds, saying that only further research can reveal whether the highly infectious H5N1 bird flu strain will become endemic in wild birds, causing periodic outbreaks across the globe for years to come.

    "The message is: Don't blame only the wild birds," Joseph Domenech, head of the Animal Health Service at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said on the sidelines of the two-day conference at the Rome-based agency.

    "We don't know if wild birds can become long-term reservoirs of the virus," he said. "We are not supporting actions on wild birds, such as killings. If wild birds have a role, the only answer is to monitor them."

    The conference gathered more than 300 scientists and animal experts from 100 countries to discuss the role of wild birds and other questions in hopes of finding ways to control the spread of the disease and to prepare in case it mutates into a virus that could threaten a human pandemic. The conference is organized by the FAO and the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health.

    Robert Webster, a bird flu expert at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., pointed to key questions scientists will have to answer in coming years: "Is the virus established in migratory birds? Will it go to the breeding grounds and perpetuate itself?"

    Other outbreaks of the H5 subtype have proven highly infectious for poultry but have died down when passed back into the wild bird population, Webster said.

    "If (this virus) breaks that rule we are in very big trouble," he said.

    Evidence on the role of wild birds is not always conclusive in the areas where H5N1 has appeared. Migratory birds introduced the disease in Russia and Eastern Europe, but in the case of recent outbreaks in Africa there is scarce evidence pointing to wild birds.

    The virus has ravaged poultry flocks in Asia, Europe and Africa since 2003 and experts have pointed to the poultry trade as the area where the disease is easiest to manage.

    "Wild birds can introduce the virus to an area, but disease spread is usually due to human actions," such as poor hygiene in poultry farms and bad surveillance of poultry trade, said Juan Lubroth, a senior officer for animal health at the FAO.
    "We don't need prime ministers to come out and say: 'We'll cut off the tops of trees or drain the wetlands."'

    Lubroth said experts were still puzzling over which wild bird species were more susceptible to the virus, and how long they could keep flying and spreading the virus once they were infected. "Dead birds don't fly," he said.

    Webster, the U.S. expert, said that if indeed the virus becomes endemic in wild birds, understanding which species are affected will serve as an early warning system for future outbreaks, since their migratory routes and periods of are well known.

    The H5N1 virus has killed at least 127 people worldwide, with most victims infected through direct contact with sick birds. Experts fear, however, that the deadly virus could mutate into a form that passes easily between humans, possibly sparking a global pandemic. Understanding how the virus strain spreads is a key factor in fighting the disease.


    • #3
      Re: UN Bird Flu Conference in Rome

      Bird flu outbreaks may be hidden,20867,19324098-2702,00.html

      <cite class="byline">Natasha Bita, Rome</cite> <cite class="author"></cite> June 01, 2006

      INDONESIA and China could be downplaying their outbreaks of bird flu, the UN warned lastnight.

      The UN's World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and Food and Agriculture Organisation said some countries were under-reporting cases of the deadly bird flu H5N1 amid growing concern of a pandemic.
      Outbreaks in China, Indonesia and African countries could be worse than their governments were reporting.
      "We know that some countries might be under-reporting ... most do not do it deliberately," the co-ordinator of the OIE's bird flu taskforce, Christianne Bruschke, said in Rome last night.
      "We are concerned about China and Indonesia because the virus seems to be so widespread that we could not get all the information. It is difficult to know about each individual outbreak in a back yard."
      The World Health Organisation has sent a team to Indonesia to investigate the cause of the world's largest outbreak of bird flu, which killed six members of the same family in North Sumatra over the past month.
      Indonesia has reported 48 human infections with the disease since 2003, including 36 deaths. Of those, 31 cases and 25 deaths were reported this year.
      China has reported 18 human cases - with 12 deaths - including 10 cases and seven deaths so far this year. Vietnam has reported 93 human infections, with 42 deaths. The disease has infected 224 people in 10 countries - killing 127 - since the H5N1 strain was detected in poultry in 2003.
      Most victims appeared to have touched sick or dead poultry, although WHO is investigating whether the virus spread directly between members of the Indonesian family who died recently. Another Indonesian man was infected after clearing pigeon droppings from his roof gutters.
      Australia has not reported any flu outbreaks so far.
      Juan Lubroth, head of the FAO's emergency program for transboundary animal disease, said it was not inevitable the disease would cross to Australia from Indonesia.
      Australia was one of the few countries well-prepared for an outbreak, he said.
      "The Australian Government has quite a bit of depth and experience in handling some of these transboundary diseases and is quite well prepared in detection and quarantine to impede the diseases getting in," Dr Lubroth said.
      He said the wild ducks and geese suspected of spreading the disease did not migrate to Australia and said migratory shorebirds were considered low-risk.
      FAO chief veterinary officer Joseph Domenech said under-reporting of avian flu was "not most of the time deliberate". In parts of Africa, he said, it could take a month or two just to send a sample from an infected bird to a laboratory for testing.
      The WHO warned yesterday that it had only a three-week window to stamp out any local outbreaks of bird flu in humans through mass vaccinations and quarantine.


      • #4
        Re: UN Bird Flu Conference in Rome

        Wild birds role unclear in spreading bird flu-FAO

        As the deadly H5N1 virus spread rapidly in the past six months from Asia into parts of the Middle East, Europe and Africa, specialists have been trying to work out how it travels. ROME, May 31 (Reuters) -

        The role of wild birds in spreading the deadly avian influenza remains unclear, a top veterinary expert at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Wednesday after a two-day international scientific conference.

        The virus primarily hits birds but it has killed 127 people around the world since it re-emerged in Asia in late 2003. Some suggest wild migrating birds are the main carriers, others point to poultry trade as the major force behind the virus's spread.

        "Do we have a permanent reservoir (of the virus) in wild birds or not? It still remains a question," FAO's Chief of Animal Health Services Joseph Domenech told Reuters after the conference attended by over 300 scientists from 100 countries.

        He said one of the main achievements of the conference, organised by FAO and World Animal Health Organisation (OIE), was to get together people from different sectors -- from poultry trade to wildlife experts and policy makers -- and start the discussion about how bird flu travels on long distances. "We have identified the gaps and the need to continue and intensify research, in particular with regards to the species which can be involved (in spreading the virus)", Domenech said. He said global surveillance of wild birds should be boosted to gather more information.

        Many countries around the world are on alert for bird flu, especially after the recent flurry of human cases in Indonesia, as they fear it may mutate into one that spreads easily among people and trigger a pandemic, killing millions.
        <table cellpading="0" border="0" cellspacing="0" width="350"><tbody><tr><td class="crumb" align="right">AlertNet news is provided by </td> <td width="112"></td></tr></tbody></table>


        • #5
          Re: UN Bird Flu Conference in Rome

          Countries under-report bird flu

          China, Indonesia and Africa are under-reporting incidences of bird flu, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

          A lack of adequate compensation schemes for farmers with infected poultry is the major factor, said the OIE avian influenza coordinator.
          She is urging developed countries to provide the funding for such schemes.
          The call came at the end of a two-day international conference to discuss the spread of avian flu. <!-- E SF -->
          Speaking at a news conference, Dr Christianne Bruschke said that under-reporting is happening for a variety of reasons in different parts of the world.

          Endemic disease
          In Africa there are problems of time, distance and education.
          "Farmers will probably not report sick animals. We also think that people in Africa may not recognise the signs of the disease.
          "Their veterinary services are very weak and many countries do not have laboratory facilities - we have all the ingredients there that could lead to under-reporting."
          There are also major problems with Indonesia, where human deaths from bird flu are a reflection of serious problems with animals.
          The disease now appears to be permanently infecting poultry in the country, said Dr Bruschke, and this makes accurate reporting of cases all the more difficult.
          "I think it could be the case because in certain regions the virus is getting more or less endemic, so in regions like Java, they might not report every single outbreak anymore."

          Funding calls
          Dr Bruschke stressed that almost all countries are willing to report and acknowledge how serious a crisis this is.
          "China is openly communicating with us and cooperating - but it is a very big country.
          "We sometimes see the outbreaks in wild animals - they will not always detect them. There is also not a very good compensation scheme in place so we feel there might be under-reporting. "
          The OIE is encouraging developed countries to provide funding for compensation schemes. There have been discussions at recent meetings of donor countries in Geneva and Beijing but no concrete proposals as yet.
          More than 300 scientists from 100 countries were meeting in Rome to discuss the impact of wild birds on the spread of avian influenza.
          <!-- E BO -->