Global Bird Flu Situation Improving, Says UN

UNITED NATIONS ~ Although bird flu remains entrenched in Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, the situation is improving in the rest of the world due to measures taken by governments, the UN coordinator for the disease said this week.

“If we look at the rest of the world, I can continue to report that the situation is really improving,” David Nabarro told reporters here.

“Countries generally have invested massively in improving the functioning of their veterinary services and also the biosecurity around which poultry are reared has generally improved.”

“It doesn’t mean that we can say thet the situation globally is completely under control … but it does mean that in the rest of the world, there is a great deal of vigilance and action under way,” he added.

Nabarro however warned that the world community had to remain on high alert for the possible mutation of the virus into one communicable between humans.

He highlighted intensive action by South Korea and Britain to bring outbreaks under control, as well as financial sector exercises in Australia and the United States to prepare for the impact of potential avian influenza crises.

He said that governments had invested massively in improving conditions for rearing poultry and had increased their focus on the link between animal and human diseases.

And he pointed to good preparedness in the travel and tourism sectors, as well as progress on updating international health regulations which countries adopt when confronted with major health emergencies.

Nabarro, a Briton, was tasked by the world body in 2005 to lead efforts to contain the bird flu crisis.

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