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Article Released Wed-5th-October-2005 11:38 GMT
Contact: Administrator Account Institution: ResearchSEA
 Wetlands International’s position statement on Avian Influenza

As the role that wild birds could play in spreading HPAI is far from clear, Wetlands International urges that more research is urgently done and a world wide system for monitoring HPAI in wild birds be put in place.

"Since 1997, the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) of the H5N1 strain in east, southeast and central Asia have been increasingly recorded through recurrent outbreaks in poultry and through infections in people. This has resulted in the deaths over 60 people and culling of several hundred million domestic poultry and ducks. HPAI can be spread through movement of poultry, eggs, meat and bird products, poultry and live bird markets, illegal trade of wild birds, movement of humans and machinery between poultry farms, the religious practice of "merit release" of wild or pet birds and substandard poultry vaccines. In 2005, a few species of migratory waterbirds were affected by the virus with mass die offs observed in two locations in China and Mongolia. Due to their migratory nature, wild birds are perceived by some groups as a potential threat in spreading the disease along their migratory routes that cross national boundaries across Asia, Australasia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. At the same time wild birds are victims of this disease and thus under threat. As the role that wild birds could play in spreading HPAI is far from clear, Wetlands International urges that more research is urgently done and a world wide system for monitoring HPAI in wild birds be put in place. Practical measures to be taken to limit the risk of spreading the virus should focus on the control of movements of domestic poultry and on improved bio-security practices in poultry production enterprises."

For full statement, click on the link below or download the Word document.

More from Wetlands International

Wetlands International is keen to improve our understanding of the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza, especially of H5N1 strain, that has already caused numerous human deaths and widespread loss of poultry in the Asian region and is believed by WHO and others to be a forerunner for a human flu pandemic in the near future.

With growing concern about the possible role of migratory species in contributing to the spread of the virus, Wetlands International is committed to promoting the collation and improving access to available information on migratory routes of waterbirds globally, establishment of a global network of serological testing of wild birds and development of risk assessments based on sound information to support national actions to ensure human health, poultry industry and conservation of wild birds and their habitats.

Wetlands International provides information on avian influenza and wild birds on our website and the first version has been uploaded recently. Information is being updated with new postings, so do bookmark and visit our main AI website regularly http://www.wetlands.org/IWC/Avianflu/default.htm A powerpoint
presentation to the European Union in September by Wetlands International can viewed online, others will be added soon.

We recognise that practical measures to be taken to limit the risk of spreading the virus should focus on the control of movements of domestic poultry and their products and on improved bio-security practices in poultry production enterprises.

We are keen to undertake this work in partnership with interested governments, international bodies, conventions, non-government organisations and interested experts at the global, flyway and national scales.

For more information, please contact

Dr. Taej Mundkur
Wetlands International Focal Point on Avian Influenza
Office: A-25, 2nd Floor, Defence Colony, New Delhi - 110 024, India
Direct address: Swarankit, Plot No 6, Mahatma Housing Society, Kothrud,
Pune City - 411 029, India
Mobile: +91 98505 84334 Tel/Fax: +91 20 25283372
Email: taejmundkur.wi@vsnl.net or crabplover@yahoo.co.uk
URL: www.wetlands.org

Associated links

Associated files available for download

Download IconView/download the file 'WI AI Position statement.doc.
Keywords associated to this article: Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), bird flu, migratory wild birds
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