Ending Bird Flu 10 Years and $100 Million Away
The United Nations announced that eradicating the scourge of Asian bird flu would take time and money. While time is already granted, the $100 million it will require is not.
The virus that has plagued birds in Asia in recent years caught the attention of agenda setters in the UN.
Three health agencies adopted a global plan to stop the epidemic that included an appeal to UN members and philanthropists for funding.
The agencies that put forth the plea for help are the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, The World Health Organization, and the World Organization for Animal Health.
On Tuesday, the second day of a three-day international bird flu summit in Kuala Lumpur, the UN announced the plan. The summit was called among fears that the virus would eventually mutate into a form that could infect humans, causing a worldwide pandemic.
Dozens of people have died already in various parts of Asia after coming in contact with infected birds.
So far the virus has been contained in Asia, but the UN is asking donors from all countries to raise the $100 million required to fight the disease.
The funds will be used to launch surveillance systems, vaccinate birds, and train veterinary experts over a three-year period.
Food and Agriculture Organization’s Joseph Domenech warns that although bird flu outbreaks have yet to leave Asia, no country is safe from a possible outbreak.
“The word global means also global geographically,” said the chief veterinary officer.
“It’s an international crisis because no poultry producing country can pretend it’s without any risk of introduction, this can happen any time and anywhere.”
UN officials expect that half of the money will be raised by the end of the year, once the information is distributed to potential donors.