Senior U.N. Health officials have criticized the international community for not providing enough financial aid to help fight Asia's bird flu epidemic.

The criticism came as delegates to a conference on bird flu went into closed door sessions in Vietnam Thursday to discuss ways to combat the deadly disease.

Samuel Jutzi, of the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, said only $18 million has been donated to combat bird flu, far below the $100 million needed to help countries detect and react quickly to bird flu outbreaks.

Mr. Jutzi said the F.A.O. is concerned the international community is more focused on public health issues and not on protecting domestic birds and animals from infection.
Health experts worry that bird flu could combine with a human influenza virus to create a disease easily passed from person to person.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.