[ASC-media] CSIRO: Revealing the global threat of bird flu

Rebecca.Eveleigh at csiro.au Rebecca.Eveleigh at csiro.au
Thu Jul 12 00:45:46 CEST 2007

12 July 2007
Ref: 07/118

Revealing the global threat of bird flu

A unique and revealing insight into the global threat posed by the
current epidemic of H5N1 avian influenza was provided to more than 150
guests at the 2007 Snowdon Lecture held last night at CSIRO Livestock
Industries' Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong.  

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

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). 

Media Assistance:		
Emma Wilkins, CSIRO Livestock Industries	+61 3 5227 5123; 0409
031 658
Emma.Wilkins at csiro.au

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Beck Eveleigh
Media Assistant
CSIRO Media Liaison
6276 6451
0409 395 010

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