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Article Released Fri-15th-January-2010 10:26 GMT
Contact: Vivien Chiam Institution: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
 Press Release from Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases (APEIR)

15 Jan, Kunming, China - More than 30 partner institutions attended the Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases (APEIR) meeting where researchers presented key findings to the media. The key outcomes from the research are summarised in this press release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

5th APEIR Regional Meeting, Kunming, China
Embargo lifted at : 1700 Beijing time, Friday 15 January 2009


More than 30 partner institutions attended the 5th regional meeting of the Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases (APEIR) at the Dianchi Garden Hotel and Spa, Kunming, China. The researchers discussed the outcomes of the five projects and presented key findings to the media at 1700 Beijing time on Friday 15 January. The press conference began with introductory remarks from senior APEIR members followed by research summaries from the researchers.

The key outcomes are:


Dr Witthawat Wiriyarat, Thailand: Forming of a regional network for surveillance and monitoring of avian influenza viruses in migratory birds

This study concluded that wild birds are likely transmission vectors of avian influenza (AI), H5N1. There are differences between countries and between bird species. Wetlands and lakes along the flight paths of migratory birds are zones where highly pathogenic avian viruses remain viable and can be spread through wild bird migration. The study shows that some migratory birds’ flight paths are closely related with outbreaks of H5N1 in poultry in space and time. The work has led to new H5N1 detection mechanisms and raised research priority on the role of wild birds in transmission of AI.
The research has raised further questions on transmission of H5N1 and other viruses among birds and poultry.


Dr Libin Wang, China: Socio-economic impact of highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks and control measures on small-scale and backyard poultry producers in Asia

AI outbreaks and measures taken to control highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) have a significant impact on production and income of small-scale commercial producers, but less impact than expected on farmers who keep a few backyard poultry. The team found three main factors could reduce the socio-economic impact, namely: selected rather than mass culling, increased compensation rates for culled birds, and the targeting of sector support policies towards small-scale commercial producers.


Dr Khieu Borin, Cambodia: Characteristics and dynamics of backyard poultry systems in relation to reduce and manage avian influenza risks

Based on interviews with farmers, traders and communities at large, the research improved awareness of AI risks and encouraged community-driven actions to reduce transmission of AI and other poultry disease. The researchers concluded that changing individual farmers’ behaviour is difficult and organisational reform at the village level is a more successful approach. In the future the group would like to work to map poultry movement both within and between countries.


Dr Wiku Adisasmito, Indonesia: Policy analysis for pandemic influenza preparedness

The team set out to understand the generation of policy for stockpiling retroviral drugs for humans and vaccination for poultry. Across the region the first priority is for human health and all countries are stockpiling retroviral drugs as per WHO guidelines, but coverage is constrained by finances. Poultry vaccination policies differ between countries because of economic drivers for poultry industry. Different inter-sectoral strategic interests result in incoherent regional and possibly global health strategies. The team hopes their research will lead to strategies that take into consideration differences in national needs.


Dr Shijun Zheng, China: Studies on the effectiveness of avian influenza control measures in the Asian partnership countries

The objective is to evaluate factors contributing to success in prevention and control of AI in the poultry sector and the team set out to describe and analyse prevention and control strategies and evaluate their effectiveness. The measures prescribed are not always implemented as well as authorities may believe and as such may not be having the effect they should. The work will provide a valuable reference in policy making against AI and future pandemics.


Background information:
APEIR work is underpinned by principles of ecohealth, which address emerging infectious diseases as a development problem, rather than solely a public health problem. As a holistic systems-based approach that places human health and wellbeing in the context of environmental, social and economic causes and impacts, ecohealth requires multidisciplinary research teams and involves all relevant stakeholders. More than 30 partner institutions representing a range of expertise and sectors are currently participating in APEIR research projects on: wild migratory birds, socio-economic impact, backyard chicken, policy analysis, and control measures. The 4th APEIR regional workshop was held in Cambodia in November 2008 to share, update and discuss preliminary findings from the five APEIR studies.



Background and Current Status of APEIR
In 2005, the Asian Partnership on Avian Influenza Research (APAIR) was initiated by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) to promote regional research collaboration on bird flu (H5N1). Subsequently in 2009, the network was renamed as the Asian Partnership on Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (APEIR) in order to examine a wider range of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), including the pandemic swine flu (H1N1) outbreak. For more information on APEIR, please visit www.apeiresearch.net.


International Development Research Centre
IDRC is a Canadian Crown Corporation that supports research and research capacities in developing countries.


Media enquiries:

Vivien Chiam
Partnership and Communications Manager
International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Regional Office for Southeast and East Asia
Singapore
Tel: mobile (65) 9760-6821
Email: vchiam@idrc.org.sg

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