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Donors Pledge Additional $400 Million to Fight Bird Flu


International donors at a conference on bird flu in India's capital, New Delhi, have pledged more than $400 million in additional funds to deal with the global threat of the disease.

International donors made the pledges Thursday, the final day of the three-day event, attended by delegates from more than 100 countries.

The United States, the largest donor in the fight against avian influenza, pledged $195 million additional, followed by France and Germany.

Acting vice president of the World Bank, Peter Harrold, said there is still a gap, but that the additional funding is more than what anybody had anticipated. He called it a very encouraging response to the problem.

International donors have already pledged two-point-three billion dollars to help developing countries fight the virus.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who addressed the conference Wednesday, stressed the importance of focusing on animal health.

He said the best available strategy is to control the epidemic at its source, adding Indian scientists are developing vaccines for both poultry and people.

World Health Organization officials say nearly 20 percent of the global population will be affected during the next bird flu pandemic.

Bird flu has killed more than 200 people since 2003.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.