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India to Host Asian Review Meet on Avian Flu

India will host a review meeting later this week of Asian countries, including China, on the global health and security risk of avian flu that has resulted in// substantial poultry losses and human deaths.

"Health and animal husbandry ministers of nine Asian countries have been invited to the meet here on July 27-28 to study how to integrate the efforts in combating avian flu that is unprecedented in its geographical scope, spread and consequences," said a WHO spokesperson.

Ahead of the ministerial conference, the secretaries of health and agriculture/animal husbandry of nine Asian countries would be deliberating on the future course of action as well as the current status in various countries including India, which notified being avian flu hit in February.

A decision on ending the three-month quarantine period after all steps related to wiping out any potential infected material have been undertaken, and some future steps with regards India are also expected to be announced.

The conference on Avian Influenza Control and Pandemic Preparedness in Asia is being organised in collaboration with the WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

The US Department of Health and Human Services is also a partner and Monday provided a grant of $50,000 for the conference.

Geoffrey R. Pyatt, Charge d' Affaires of the US embassy and Salim J. Habayeb, the WHO representative to India, signed the grant agreement.

The US Agency for International Development has also provided $50,000 to the WHO for this conference.

The outbreaks of avian influenza reported in Asia, Europe and Africa in recent years have been unprecedented in terms of their geographical scope, spread and consequences.

They have resulted in substantial poultry deaths as well as the culling of more than 200 million poultry, with huge economic loss to the affected countries.

The two-day meet is e xpected to conclude with a Delhi declaration on the future course of action.

(Source: IANS)

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