â€œHowever, the extremely strong passive surveillance programmes that we have in place lead us to believe that avian influenza
would be identified quickly and any outbreak would not be widespread,â€ he said.
The World Health Organisation reports
that the virus has affected 258 humans across the globe, resulting in 153 human deaths since 2003, mostly children and young adults.
At the recent Biosecurity Summit in Wellington
, the OIE stated that Australia and New Zealand â€œare probably the last two countries on earth that will be vulnerable to the H5N1 strain of avian influenzaâ€.
But Brooks says that New Zealand is still continually reviewing all the matters that it can control to lessen the risk of H5N1 strain, to protect its status as a disease-free country.
â€œWe cannot be totally confident, but believe that the industry is in a very good position to keep avian influenza out,â€ Brooks says.