The UN official in charge of coordinating efforts to stop the spread of
avian influenza says progress is being made. But David Nabarro says the
threat continues. From VOA's New York Bureau, correspondent Barbara
Schoetzau has the story by VOA Intern Maha Saad.
the global situation is improving due to increased vigilance. He says
nations have invested heavily in the way poultry is reared to reduce
the threat of avian influenza. Nabarro also cites an increased
understanding of the link between animal and human diseases.
has been an extraordinary global response to the bird flu enzootic [endemic]. The current highly pathogenic bird flu virus does seem to be
being brought under control reasonably well. It is not perfect. It
could still come back up at any time if we do not watch it, but I am
saying there is good work being done," he said.
various efforts made by governments around the world to combat the
virus. Furthermore, Nabarro says donations from pharmaceutical
companies are helping to build a global stockpile of vaccine in case of
an avian flu pandemic.
"We do feel that it is prudent to
continue to be prepared, especially as genetic studies of the current
bird flu virus show that it is continuously evolving," he said.
Despite the improved overall situation, Nabarro says the disease remains entrenched in five nations.
the beginning of this year, we were still seeing outbreaks of highly
pathogenic avian influenza among poultry, but particularly in countries
where the virus has become entrenched. That is, Indonesia, Vietnam,
Bangladesh, Egypt. During this year, we had a particularly serious
group of outbreaks in India," he said.
Nabarro urges that nations put into place pandemic preparedness exercises.