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» 01/17/2006
Bird flu: more than 1.5 billion dollars needed to stem infection

A donors' conference has opened in Beijing for prevention and care above all in poor Asian countries. There are new deaths in Indonesia and Turkey and a suspected case in Jerusalem.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – An international donors' meeting about avian and human influenza opened today in Beijing; the UN is asking for 1.5 billion dollars to fight the infection. Meanwhile, deaths continue to occur: new fatalities were confirmed in Indonesia and Turkey. And a farmer has been hospitalized in Jerusalem.

The conference, organised by China, the European Union and the World Bank, aims to bring together and coordinate economic aid to poor states to fight the disease, aid already pledged at a conference in Geneva in November 2005. Participants, who hail from 89 states and 25 international organizations, admit that bird flu is a pressing concern for the whole world and significant aid for poorer states is needed. The UN is calling for 1.5 billion US dollars, especially for Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Thailand, where the virus seems to be endemic, to improve the health situation and veterinary checks. The World Bank approved 500 million in funds and the EU promised 100 million. Indonesia is asking for 500 million dollars to compensate farmers and to cull chickens to avoid the spread of infection. The pharmaceutical company Roche has put 50 million doses of Tamiflu at the disposal of the World Health Organisation: this is enough for five million people.

"We live on the same planet and our destinies are interconnected," China's vice foreign minister, Qiao Zonghuai, said in his opening address. "In the fight versus avian influenza, no country can stay safe. We have a saying in China: 'When the nest is overturned, no egg stays unbroken'… But there is a significant shortfall of funds in many affected countries."

Juergen Voegele, a member of the World Bank's avian influenza task force, said: "People were under the impression that the human cases of avian influenza were confined to Asia. Now people are beginning to wake up."

WHO spokesman Iain Simpson said: "One of the urgent things that's needed simply is money because without money it's not possible for countries to prepare for the arrival of a pandemic and to prevent that." European Union external affairs commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said it was better to spend now on controlling bird flu than to have to spend much more in a human pandemic.

The persistent fear is that the virus will mutate into a form that is easily transmissible between humans and spark a global pandemic. The World Bank has estimated that the pandemic could cost US0 billion and that world economic growth will drop by 2%.

Since December 2003, when the disease reappeared in Asia, 79 people have been killed and 150 infected – the majority of them in Vietnam.

China. In 2005, there were 32 infectious outbreaks among birds of 13 provinces;

154,600 died and 22,571,200 were culled. The government paid farmers compensation to make up for the loss of 100 million yuan (12.2 million dollars) in 2004 and another 200 million (24.2 million dollars) in 2005.

Hong Kong. The importation of 30,000 chickens per day is allowed, coming from monitored and vaccinated farms. For the last two days before the Lunar New Year, the importation of between 50,000 and 70,000 birds per day will be conceded.

Indonesia. The thirteenth victim of bird flu died on 14 January in Java: a 13-year-old girl.

Israel. A Palestinian farmer was admitted to hospital yesterday with symptoms of the disease. The results of testing are expected; tests were also carried out on dead chickens on his farm.

Turkey. The fourth human death has been confirmed. The 13-year-old girl died on 15 January in the eastern city of Van although initial tests had yielded negative results. Testing is under way on other sick children in Istanbul. Around 30 cases of infection are official and at least 932,000 chickens have been culled.

Iran. All eyes are on the border with Turkey. Anti-flu vaccines are being distributed. It has been "advised" to cull birds in small domestic breeding farms.

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See also
12/18/2008 ASIA
Bird flu hits Asia again, from China and India to Egypt
08/03/2006 ASIA
Bird flu: fear of human-to-human transmission haunts Indonesia
10/18/2005 ASIA
Alarm bells sound in the West but the frontline against the bird flu is in Asia
11/10/2005 ASIA
Bird flu suspected in new death in Indonesia
01/09/2006 TURKEY
Bird flu reaches Istanbul
WHO denies exaggerating bird flu pandemic threat
Avian flu: chicken farms to be inspected in Hong Kong
Bird flu risks stopping Turkey's economic growth
There is no evidence that Tamiflu works against bird flu
Avian flu: Between good and bad news
Indonesian 13-year-old girl dies of bird flu
Bird flu risks rise as Chinese New Year approaches
Two people in China sickened by bird flu have died
Bird flu reaches Istanbul
EU says Turkey's bird flu is lethal H5N1 strain
Bird flu at the gates of Europe, second death in Turkey
Bird flu: Hong Kong stops poultry imports from Sichuan
Bird flu and terrorism cast a shadow over pilgrimage to Makkah
Bird flu feared more virulent in Eastern Europe than in Asia
WHO: China may have unidentified bird flu outbreaks
Bird flu: in China WHO says many human cases unreported
Sixth human case of bird flu in China
Five-year old boy is Thailand's 14th bird flu victim
Farmer who blew the whistle on bird flu outbreak is arrested
WHO urges China to share H5N1 virus samples
Bird flu kills again in Indonesia
Bird flu 38 times more infectious than SARS
Bird flu: "Impossible" for China to vaccinate 14 billion birds
New human bird flu case confirmed in Vietnam
Two more suspected avian flu deaths in Indonesia and Vietnam
Asia-Pacific Rim leaders urge common action against avian flu
More outbreaks and human bird flu cases expected in China
China admits to first human case of bird flu
Avian flu: China might not be reporting every outbreak
Bird flu: scientists fear the virus has become "more contagious"
New human bird flu cases suspected in Vietnam and China
Bird flu suspected in new death in Indonesia
Prime Minister admits bird flu contagion peril
A new death from bird flu in Vietnam
China admits to three possible human cases of bird flu
Fifth bird flu victim in Indonesia
Bird flu pandemic would cost Asia 300 billion dollars
Pandemic would be a disaster for Asia's economy
In China newspapers can report on the bird flu only if authorised
Thai woman tests positive for bird flu
Bird flu in China very serious, say official sources
Two more bird flu deaths feared in Vietnam
In China no information about the dangers of the avian flu
Suspected new cases of bird flu in humans in China and Thailand
More birds infected in China but world leaders have few suggestions
Pandemic inevitable, say experts from around the world meeting in Canada
Bird flu: China and Thailand want tighter controls on bird farming and human housing
Beijing acknowledges bird flu situation is grave
Bird flu spreads and claims new victim in Thailand
Alarm bells sound in the West but the frontline against the bird flu is in Asia
Asian battleground key to beating bird flu virus
China: an incubator of bird flu
World ill-prepared to face bird flu pandemic
Suspect death in Jakarta fuels global bird flu fears
Bird flu: Ankara tries to allay western fears
Avian flue pandemic could kill up to 300 million people
Indonesia's bird flu toll is rising
Bird Flu: Are there risks, cures?

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