by contact with diseased poultry. Scientists are monitoring for any human- to-human transmission that may herald the start of a pandemic.
In drier air, droplets containing the virus are likely to be smaller and to pass more easily into human respiratory tracts, says Peter Cordingley, a Manila-based WHO spokesman. The risk is high at this time of the year with festivals such as Lunar New Year resulting in increased human contact with fowl, creating more opportunities for infection.
Last month, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he planned to order the nation's military to conduct house- to-house searches to find birds infected with the avian influenza virus in Jakarta and surrounding areas.
'If cases are still increasing in let's say a year that means our control measure is not effective enough,'' WHO's Samlee said.
The H5N1 avian flu strain, first discovered in China's Guangdong province in 1996, was reported in Eastern Europe in October. It is suspected birds in 12 villages in Ukraine's Crimea became infected. Wild migratory birds are believed to have introduced the virus.
In Thailand, poultry farmers have applied to the Board of Investment to spend about 3.1 billion baht ($75 million) building sheds for their fowl, Xinhua said today.
The enclosed shelters are preferred over open-air coops, because they protect poultry from migratory birds and because fowl raised in the sheds fetch higher export prices.
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