Asia Unites To Battle Avian Flu

October 01 14:40 2005 Print This Article

Hopefully not too late

TAGAYTAY, October 1 – At a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, in short ASEAN, the members agreed on a three-year plan which will launch next year to eradicate the dangers the avian influenza poses right now. This meeting followed after a harsh warning from Dr. David Nabarro from the World Health Organization on Thurdsay who made clear that immediate steps are needed to prevent a world-wide disaster.

The agriculture ministers representing the countries in the ASEAN agreed with this warning and have thus taken immediate action. They hope that these solid steps will pave the way to getting funds for this project. The ministers made clear that this imminent threat requires an all-out co-ordinated regional effort to succeed, they are expecting that they can raise at least $250 million over the next three years from donations from Western countries.

The avian flu has claimed at least 65 deaths since 2003, mostly in Thailand and Vietnam. This strain of influenza is often referred to as H5N1 and has killed massive amounts of poultry over the last two years. If this strain would evolve together with a human strain it could pose the biggest threat to mankind yet. Prognoses have indicated that a global pandemic will kill at least 5 million people and up to a staggering 150 million if the governments are as unprepared as now. Vaccinations are still far away since the method to extract these require several months and the process is too intensive to be mass produced.

The ASEAN consists of Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

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