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they ride, they ride!


TRIBE Member
World called on to fight bird flu
Global response needed: WHO Indonesia, Laos
Pakistan affected


HONG KONG—Asia's bird flu crisis is spreading so fast that it is now beyond the control of any one country and requires a global emergency response, the World Health Organization says.

Three new countries have joined the growing list of nations afflicted by avian flu — Pakistan, Laos and Indonesia — and it is straining the resources of developing nations and increasing the risk that the virus will spread further.

"This is bigger than any one country now," said Peter Cordingley, spokesperson for the WHO's Western Pacific office in Manila.

"The speed with which it is moving has us very worried," Cordingley added.

A "historically unprecedented" arc of countries across Asia is struggling with the task of culling millions of chickens, according to the WHO, with many of them only grudgingly and belatedly admitting they have a problem in recent days.

Now fears are spreading that China — with its massive supply of poultry and waterfowl — may also be harbouring the disease, despite public denials.

"We think it's everywhere," said one senior official from the World Health Organization, who declined to be identified.

China is surrounded by countries affected by bird flu, notably South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and Laos.

"It's clear from looking at the data now that the virus has been around Southeast Asia longer than we thought," Cordingley said.

It was revealed over the weekend that Indonesia had also been battling bird flu since last November, with more than 4.7 million fowl dead so far — followed by revelations in Pakistan and Laos.

Health officials are speculating that neighbouring Burma may also be affected.

So far, six people have died in Vietnam, which has slaughtered an estimated 3.2 million chickens. The country had more than 200 million poultry.

A 6-year-old boy died in Thailand yesterday, and government officials say another five people, who have died in recent days, are also suspected of having suffered from bird flu — code-named H5N1.

Thailand, which says it has 10 suspected cases, has destroyed around 10 million chickens so far.

Japan and the European Union, Thailand's two biggest customers, have banned its poultry.

"We need international assistance," said Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai on the eve of crisis talks among regional officials and the WHO, scheduled for Bangkok.

The WHO will be trying to co-ordinate international help, seeking contributions of money and expertise to help Asia's developing countries cope, Cordingley said.

Officials will be "calling on the international community for mobilization of money, people and equipment," he added.

Countries like Canada could be most helpful in providing protective gear for culling, anti-virals, detection equipment, and "money — lots of money," he said. "Health Canada may also have experts."

Foreign Affairs has advised Canadian travellers to Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan not to eat undercooked poultry, raw eggs or lightly cooked egg products (such as runny eggs), and to avoid unnecessary contact with live poultry.

This includes markets where live animals are sold, such as chickens, ducks and pigs as these animals have been found to be carriers of the virus.

Although the WHO said there is little danger of catching the virus from cooked poultry, a Health Canada advisory said travellers should be aware that it is possible for the virus to stick to hair and clothing, and may be inhaled.

The WHO says the virus has mutated since it first surfaced in Hong Kong seven years ago, complicating the search for a vaccine.

Fears are growing that the previously obscure virus could form a deadly cocktail by mixing with the more common human influenza virus to ignite a pandemic threatening millions of people around the world.

But the WHO stresses there is no sign yet of such a super-virus incubating, and that all victims so far caught the disease directly from handling chickens, rather than human-to-human contact.


wouldn't it be a hoot if all those myths were true?

i know i'd be laffin.:D
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member

The who?