UN agency warns of new global bird flu threat

The UN food agency on Tuesday warned the world risked a surge in bird flu outbreaks unless countries strengthen their monitoring against dangerous animal diseases despite economic hardship.

"The continuing international means less money is available for prevention of H5N1 and other threats of animal origin," Juan Lubroth, chief veterinary officer at the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said in a statement.

"Even though everyone knows that prevention is better than cure, I am worried because in the current climate governments are unable to keep up their guard," he was quoted as saying.

The Rome-based agency warned large reservoirs of the still exist in parts of Asia and the Middle East where the disease has become endemic.

"Without adequate controls, it could easily spread globally as it did at its peak in 2006, when 63 countries were affected," the agency said.

The virus killed more than 300 people between 2003 and 2011, as well as forcing the culling of 400 million domestic chickens and ducks and causing an estimated $20 billion (15 billion euros) in damages.

The FAO also cautioned of the growing threat from Peste des Petits Ruminants, or PPR, a highly contagious disease that affects sheep and goats.

FAO said the virus, for which a vaccine exists, had wrought havoc in the and was spilling over into southern Africa.

Among the prevention measures against animal diseases recommended by FAO are improved general hygiene, market and border controls and health inspections in farms and markets, as well as equipment and training for laboratories.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

UN agency warns on mutant bird flu in China, Vietnam

Aug 29, 2011

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Monday warned about a new mutant strain of the deadly bird flu H5N1 virus in China and Vietnam, saying there could be a "major resurgence" of the disease.

UN warns over swine fever outbreak in Ukraine

Aug 21, 2012

The United Nations food agency on Tuesday warned that an outbreak of African swine fever in Ukraine could pose a risk for animal health in the region as a whole despite swift moves to limit its spread.

Recommended for you

Ebola mistakes should serve a lesson says WHO

8 hours ago

The World Health Organization's chief admitted on Sunday that the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve as a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future.

British Ebola nurse discharged from hospital

14 hours ago

A British nurse who contracted Ebola while working as a volunteer in Sierra Leone said she was "happy to be alive" as she was discharged from hospital on Saturday having made a full recovery.

Tide turning in Ebola fight after hard lessons

Jan 24, 2015

A top U.N. official in the fight against Ebola greeted just three patients at one treatment center he visited this week in Sierra Leone. Families in Liberia are no longer required to cremate the remains of ...

Just five Ebola cases left in Liberia: UN

Jan 24, 2015

The United Nations said on Saturday Liberia was dealing with just five remaining cases of Ebola, in the clearest sign yet that the country is nearing the end of the outbreak.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.