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Johanns Requests $91 Million to Detect, Fight Avian Influenza

by 5m Editor
2 November 2005, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns requested $91 million in additional resources to safeguard the United States against highly transmissible forms of avian influenza. The request is part of the Administration’s $7.1 billion National Strategy to Safeguard Against the Danger of Pandemic Influenza.

Johanns Requests $91 Million to Detect, Fight Avian Influenza - WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns requested $91 million in additional resources to safeguard the United States against highly transmissible forms of avian influenza. The request is part of the Administration’s $7.1 billion National Strategy to Safeguard Against the Danger of Pandemic Influenza. USDA

"These funds will help us to intensify our surveillance here at home and deliver increased assistance to countries impacted by the disease, in hopes of preventing further spread of avian influenza," said Johanns.

The USDA (the department) will supplement its international and domestic roles in controlling the spread of avian influenza (AI), in areas including disease surveillance, enhanced biosecurity of poultry farms and control of movement of birds and products that might contain the virus. Additionally, Johanns added that the department must be fully prepared for the rapid and humane destruction of infected poultry, disposal of carcasses in a biosecure and environmentally acceptable manner and proper use of vaccination in poultry.

On the international level, $18 million would be available for biosecurity, surveillance and diagnostic measures, including funding for an initiative led by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) that builds on the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN to prevent, control and eradicate AI where it currently exists in Asia. USDA will work in partnership with the seven "high-focus" countries (Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Burma and China).

To accelerate domestic activities, $73 million in funding would be available for stockpiling animal vaccine, surveillance and diagnostics, Smuggling Intervention and Trade Compliance (SITC)/ Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES), research and development, planning and preparedness and staffing and management. The objective of these efforts will be to prevent and control H5 and H7 AI in the U.S. commercial broiler and live bird marketing system.

Worldwide, there are many strains of the AI virus, which can cause varying degrees of illness in poultry and can infect chickens, turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, geese and guinea fowl as well as a wide variety of other birds. Migratory waterfowl also are known to carry infectious strains of AI viruses. Each year there is a flu season for birds just as there is for humans and, as with people, some forms of the flu are worse than others.

Source: USDA - 26th October 2005

5m Editor