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Changes in farming practices urged to control bird flu

by 5m Editor
8 July 2005, at 12:00am

CHINA - Some practices in the production and marketing of live animals for food must be urgently changed to reduce the risk of the H5N1 avian influenza virus spreading from poultry to humans, international animal and human health experts said Wednesday.

Changes in farming practices urged to control bird flu - CHINA - Some practices in the production and marketing of live animals for food must be urgently changed to reduce the risk of the H5N1 avian influenza virus spreading from poultry to humans, international animal and human health experts said Wednesday.

The experts made the call at the closing of a bird flu meeting jointly organized by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and World Health Organization (WHO).

"We agreed that it is vital to urgently change or even end a number of farming practices that are dangerous to humans," Chief Veterinary Officer with FAO Joseph Domenech said.

"These include the way chickens, ducks and pigs are raised in close proximity to each other, often with no barriers between themand humans. Another area of concern is wet markets, where animals are often slaughtered in unsanitary conditions," Domenech said.

These practices increase the danger of an interspecies transmission of avian viruses, with the risk of an exchange of genetic material and the emergence of a new virus that could endanger human health, he said.

The experts also concluded at the three-day meeting that priority should be given to the situation in small-scale and backyard farms and suggested taking four actions in this field.

First, farmers should be enlightened on the dangers of high-risk behavior and on how to change their farming practices.

Second, different species of animals should be raised separately and the intermingling between animals and humans should be eliminated.

Third, farmers should be provided with adequate compensations and/or rewards to encourage them to report suspected bird flu outbreaks in their flocks and apply control measures.

Fourth, the vaccination of poultry flocks should be conducted as part of a multi-element response to the bird flu threat in high-risk areas, provided that the vaccine used complies with OIE standards and vaccination is carried out under proper supervision.

About 90 delegates from the three organizations and other institutions attended the meeting on avian influenza and human health which opened on Monday.

Source: Xinhua News Agency - 6th July 2005

5m Editor