Tuesday, June 26, 2007

International bird flu summit begins in Scotland

An international summit organized by the UN Avian Flu Task Force opens today in Aviemore, Scotland. The two day conference convenes approximately 30 experts from 15 countries across Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.

“They will review outbreaks of avian flu around the world, which have led to the deaths of 191 people since 2003, and examine issues including the surveillance of wild birds in relation to the disease. Delegates will also discuss contingency planning and response strategies for outbreaks and what information is needed to understand potential infection routes and further local spread”

Professor Colin Galbraith, director of policy and advice at Scottish Natural Heritage, who is a member of the task force, said: "Bird flu is one of the biggest international challenges that exists today. It knows no boundaries. Scientists across the world must work together to understand the nature of the disease and to contain any outbreaks.

To date, there have been three confirmed cases of bird flu in Britain. In February, 159,000 birds were slaughtered on a Suffolk farm belonging to Bernard Matthews after the H5N1 virus was discovered. In April 2006, a dead swan was found on the slipway of the harbour at Cellardyke in Fife.

The death of 15 chickens on a farm in Conwy, North Wales in May, was caused by a less virulent strain of avian flu -H7N2”

For more: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=996022007

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