Bird Flu
by: Irene Doyle

        Migratory Bird Focus Hindering Flu Controls

        30 November 2005, BirdLife International - BirdLife has again stressed that the evidence that migratory birds are spreading H5NI Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is weak at best, and getting weaker as each outbreak is investigated.

        BirdLife voiced its concern at the close of the eighth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species ("COP8", 20-25 November), during which an "Avian Flu Early Warning system" was announced. The proposed system would map and monitor the movements of migratory waterbirds, making the information available especially to developing countries.

        According to a CMS spokesperson, "the exact workings of the system have yet to be ironed out." BirdLife International agrees that better data, and better integrated data, on bird migrations are badly needed, but primarily for reasons of conservation, not public or veterinary health. BirdLife is concerned that a focus on monitoring wild birds must not distract governments from taking effective control measures for avian flu.

        The key steps are to improve bio-security, by keeping wild birds apart from poultry, enhanced monitoring and control of poultry movements and markets, and swift culling of infected flocks. Countries currently free of the disease should consider a ban on imports of domestic poultry and wild birds for the pet trade from affected regions. For more information, click here

        Courtesy Bird Studies Canada


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