The outbreak of avian influenza in Vietnam ever since last December is less severe in terms of provinces concerned as 35 provinces have been affected by the infectious disease so far, said FAO Head and Representative to Vietnam Anton M. Rychener.
However, "It is an endemic now in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia," said the UN official one day before the opening of the FAO/OIE Second Regional Meeting on Avian Influenza Control in Animals in Asia in Ho Chi Minh City.
The meeting, scheduled for Feb. 23-25, is to be held in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the government of Vietnam.
The FAO has received a package of 5 million US dollars from the World Bank to fight avian influenza in Vietnam, which earlier this month asked the FAO and the WHO to help with this massive effort to stem the outbreak, said Rychener.
The UN organization also called for additional funding for Vietnam, and it has prepared 3.5 million US dollars to bring in specialized technical assistance to help the government undertake measures to stem and ultimately control avian influenza in such a way as to prevent an outbreak next year, said the FAO official.
Experts are coming as soon as mid-March to help the government of Vietnam to handle the disease, which has claimed the lives of 12 people in the country ever since last December.
The meeting will be attended by up to 150 chief veterinary officers from the region, national specialists and scientists, international experts working in close collaboration with infected countries in the region.
They will join representatives from the FAO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and WHO to review recommendations of the first HPAI Emergency Regional Meeting in Bangkok and global activities of international organizations on the prevention, control and eradication of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
During closed-door sessions, they will discuss scientific advances on avian influenza, both in the field and laboratory. They will analyze recent scientific research findings, including molecular epidemiology and vaccines.
They will also discuss in working groups four topics, namely, Diagnosis, Surveillance, Prevention and Control; Economic and policy issues/rehabilitation and restructuring; International standards and trade and international cooperation; and Human health.