Avian Flu Remains Endemic In Six Countries, Could Take At Least A Decade To Eradicate, FAO Says

It will take at least 10 years to eradicate the H5N1 (bird flu) virus from poultry in the six countries where it is endemic, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a report (.pdf) released on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports (4/21).

H5N1, “which can spread to humans and kill them, remains firmly entrenched in Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, while most of the 60 countries to where the virus spread at its peak in 2006 have managed to eliminate it,” the FAO said, Reuters reports. “The six countries have lagged behind in eradicating the deadly virus because of factors related to the structure of national poultry sectors, veterinary services and commitment to deal with the problem,” the agency said in its report, the news service writes (Kovalyova, 4/21).

“The report outlines measures that each of the six endemic countries should take over the next five years to move them towards virus elimination, including in the areas of outbreak control and response, gathering and analysing information, and disease prevention and risk reduction,” according to the U.N. News Centre (4/21).