Bird flu still spreading, although more slowly, UN agency says


The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said the disease has been confirmed in 55 countries in Africa, Asia and Europe, up from 45 in April of this year. Efforts to quickly detect and respond to outbreaks have slowed the rate of infection among poultry, it said. Such measures are critical to ensuring the virus, which mostly affects the bird population, doesn't mutate so that it is easily transmitted between humans. Sixty-three people have died from the virus this year, up from 41 in 2005. Since 2002, the bird flu has killed 140 people. Among the areas still most at risk are Asia, including Indonesia where 45 people have died; some African countries such as the Ivory Coast; and the southern Balkan and the Caucasus regions in Europe, the organization said. The European areas are prime resting grounds for migratory bird species and „poultry production is mostly characterized by rural and household husbandry with little in terms of biosecurity and strong regulatory inspection,” said Lubroth, head of FAO's Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal Diseases. (Bloomberg)


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