Thursday, October 20, 2005

Africa May Face Risk for Bird Flu

As I feared, Africa May Face Risk for Bird Flu.
"One of our major concerns is now the potential spread of avian influenza through migratory birds to North and Eastern Africa," said Dr. Joseph Domenech, the chief veterinary officer at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which monitors the spread of the disease in animals.

If the disease touches down there, it could well become widespread in the environment and on farms before it is even detected, he said.

Also, because in poorer African nations people live in close proximity with animals, such a situation would provide a dangerous crucible for the mixing or the bird and human viruses, vastly increasing the risk that the avian virus could gain the ability to readily spread among humans.

"The close proximity between people and animals and insufficient surveillance and disease control capability in eastern African countries create an ideal breeding ground for the virus," Dr. Domenech said.

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