Experts and authorities from across the Americas issued a declaration on Friday aimed at joining hands to prevent bird flu outbreaks and to collaborate in case that the disease reaches Latin America, officials said here.
Participants in the Hemispheric Conference on Vigilance and Prevention of Bird Flu promised to cooperate politically, technically and financially to fight the disease that has already caused the death of 68 people in Asia.
The three-day conference, which started Wednesday in the Brazilian capital city, agreed on a series of preventative measures at the levels of nations and regions and across the continent, to tackle the increasing risk of bird flu.
The Inter-American Agricultural Cooperation Institute said the Americas are the world's leading poultry market, with 47 percent of total production and 58 percent of exports. A region-wide epidemic would be a "catastrophe," it said.
The Brasilia declaration sets up a working group that will develop strategies for health, agriculture and poultry production facilities across the Americas.
The document will be presented to governments for discussion and approval and eventually applied by all the countries on the continent, said the organizers of the event.
Hoping to avoid restrictions on international commerce, the declaration said that countries need to inform the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of any outbreaks of the disease.
Apart from governmental representatives from the Americas, delegates from the Food and Agriculture Organization, the OIE, and the Pan-American Health Organization also attended the meeting.