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Revealing The Global Threat Of Bird Flu

Dr Bernard Vallat also discussed the OIE's recommendations to eradicate at the animal source and implement a number of principles including early detection, rapid confirmation of suspects, rapid and transparent notification and the use of vaccination when appropriate.
by Staff Writers
Geelong, Australia (SPX) Jul 24, 2007
The Lecture, Avian Influenza Epizooties: Where do we stand in 2007, was presented by Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). According to Dr Vallat the current epidemic of highly pathogenic avian influenza is a major global concern. One of the main constraints to controlling the outbreaks is the weakness of national veterinary services in many developing countries.

Dr Vallat discussed the OIE's assessment that capacity building and improvement of veterinary services and infrastructures is essential in more than 100 countries, not only for the current avian influenza crisis but for all future emerging and re-emerging diseases linked with globalisation and climatic changes.

"The current highly pathogenic H5N1 strain with its rapid spread over continents and its pandemic potential has led to a global influenza crisis," Dr Vallat said. "Although the majority of countries infected in 2006 succeeded in eradicating the disease, the situation in some countries remains very worrisome."

Dr Vallat also discussed the OIE's recommendations to eradicate at the animal source and implement a number of principles including early detection, rapid confirmation of suspects, rapid and transparent notification and the use of vaccination when appropriate.

"We also recommend rapid response involving increase in biosecurity, containment, disinfections and culling of infected animals," he said.

AAHL Director, Dr Martyn Jeggo said AAHL was honoured to have Dr Vallat speak on the evening.

"We had a great turnout this year and I think this was mainly due to the calibre of Bernard Vallat," Dr Jeggo said. "As Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health, Dr Vallat has a unique insight into the current global situation with regards to avian influenza. His perceptions of the risks it poses to both the poultry industry and to humans were informed and revealing. The lecture offered a great opportunity to learn more about the threats posed by this current epidemic."

AAHL maintains Australia's capacity for rapid and accurate diagnosis of avian influenza in Australian poultry and birds as well as maintaining a laboratory testing surge capacity. AAHL is also internationally recognised as an OIE regional reference laboratory for highly pathogenic avian influenza.

The Snowdon Lecture is held every one to two years in honour of Dr Bill Snowdon, the foundation chief of the CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL).

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World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)
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Reviving The HIV Vaccine Hunt
Washington (UPI) Jul 24, 2007
A renewed emphasis on the critical but elusive HIV/AIDS vaccine is needed, along with more funding, to mitigate the disease's rampant spread in developing countries, health experts said Monday. "Any serious discussion about AIDS must include the Holy Grail -- the potential for a vaccine," U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., said at a panel discussion in Washington hosted by the online journal Health Affairs, a peer-reviewed, health policy journal published by the non-profit organization Project HOPE.

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