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    » 05/04/2006, 00.00

    ASIA

    APEC countries discuss measures to tackle possible bird flu pandemic



    Proposals mooted at the meeting under way in Vietnam include: greater exchange of information and faster procedures for the entry of WHO teams in areas of new outbreaks.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Asia-Pacific officials are meeting in Vietnam to find ways to stop a possible bird flu pandemic that experts say could kill millions.
    The three-day meeting of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) health and agriculture ministers and officials is due to call on the group's 21 members to promptly share all information on new cases to stop or slow any outbreak.
    Opening the meeting, Vietnam's deputy agriculture minister, Bui Ba Bong, said that since late 2003, 205 people have been infected in nine countries, and 113 of them have died, resulting in a "very high fatality rate" of 55.1 per cent.
    A draft of the meeting's action plan, to be approved by ministers on Friday, warns that "an influenza pandemic would have broad and potentially global economic, social and security consequences".
    Under the plan, members would pledge to limit bird flu in their poultry stocks by encouraging a shift from traditional live bird markets to more bio-secure facilities.
    To prepare for outbreaks, they would also streamline visa and customs procedures for the World Health Organisation's (WHO) rapid response teams to ensure they could arrive quickly with their equipment at the scene of any outbreak.

    Of the APEC member countries, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam have all suffered human infections, while the disease has also affected birds in Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Russia and     South Korea.

    Vietnam, which will host the annual APEC summit in November, has been the worst affected, with 42 human deaths since the outbreak started here in December 2003.

    The following countries are members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, USA and Vietnam.

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    See also

    15/06/2005 VIETNAM
    Hanoi announces three new bird flu cases


    10/01/2007 ASIA
    Indonesia, China, Vietnam: new bird flu victims
    There has been a death in Jakarta, a new case of human infection in Anhui and outbreaks of infection in southern Vietnam. Governments are not managing to stem the lethal virus.

    21/03/2006 ASIA
    Bird flu reaches Pakistan

    There are new outbreaks of infection in Malaysia and a third suspected case of human infection in Egypt.



    08/08/2006 INDONESIA
    Bird flu claims 43rd victim in Jakarta

    The Indonesian archipelago has surpassed Vietnam to become the hardest hit country in the world.



    28/09/2006 INDONESIA
    Bird flu: Indonesia death toll reaches 52

    The latest victim was a boy from West Java province. Fears are growing about human-to-human transmission: the victim's brother died four days ago with symptoms of the H5N1 virus but it was not possible to take blood samples for testing.





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