Bird flu prevention efforts could be thwarted

18-05-2006 | |

Researchers say that measures to prevent avian influenza in poultry flocks could be compromised by poor international coordination, sloppy management, and a lack of funds.

The new research report, by Ilaria Capua and Dennis Alexander, is scheduled for publication in the June 2006 issue of Avian Pathology. The report comments on the lack of understanding about how the virus could spread and questions the effectiveness of pre-emptive culling.

“As this study identifies, a universal solution to the prevention and control of avian flu does not exist,” the two researchers stated. “A combination of different strategies must be used, on the basis of the characteristics of the poultry industry at risk, which differs around the world, and of the goals that can be reasonably achieved.”

Meanwhile, an EU official yesterday said that EU members need to appoint a special official to deal with the bird flu crisis and to coordinate efforts to contain the disease’s spread.

About 200 people have caught the disease and 115 have died worldwide since its onset in Asia in 2003, according to the World Health Organisation.

The spread of the virus in the EU has increased public fears about poultry, with consumption of poultry meat dropping by more than half in some EU states, with some 300,000 tonnes now in storage.