New bird flu virus threatens animal health and livelihoods in South-East Asia

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Transported poultry undergoing a routine inspection by animal health authorities in Thailand: an example of good biosecurity practices. FAO@PHOTO

A new strain of avian influenza has emerged in South-East Asia in poultry threatening animal health and livelihoods, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The agency says the virus, known as A(H5N6) was first reported by Chinese authorities in April this year and has since been detected in Laos and Viet Nam.

The virus is reported to be virulent in chickens and geese.

FAO’s Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Juan Lubroth warns that although it does not seem to cause human illness, the virus can have a huge impact on food security and the economies in of South-East Asia.

"When we are talking about one of the more populated areas on earth not only by humans but also by poultry production like we see in China and Southeast Asia, this food resource not only at the family level because of the nutrition but also at the small producer or large producer for commerce and for marketing I think the impact could be quite huge." (23")

FAO and the World Health Organization are stressing it's critical for countries in South-East and East Asia to ramp up efforts to detect and report influenza viruses in poultry and to monitor for any human infections.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26′

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