Avian influenza workshop in Asia Pacific region

14-08-2006 | |

More than 50 health and government officials from the Asia-Pacific region are meeting today and tomorrow in Singapore to discuss strategies for strengthening the region’s response to any bird flu pandemic.

The two-day workshop is a follow-up to a bird flu exercise coordinated by Australia in June involving the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members.
“The exercise achieved its purpose of highlighting the need for improved communications to handle these sorts of emergencies,” Helena Studdert of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“The next step is for the Singapore workshop to discuss the report, decide how to move forward and make a series of recommendations to ministers,” she said.
The H5N1 bird flu virus has killed 138 people since late 2003, mostly in Asia.
Health experts fear it could mutate into a form that is transmitted more easily between humans, marking the first stage of a global flu pandemic that could kill millions.
APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.