Risk of new animal- to-human epidemics

Vietnam will stand side by side with the world community in actions to face with the risk of new animal- to-human epidemics which is rooted from the avian flu H5N1.

The statement was made by Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Dao Xuan Hoc at the Partnership on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza (PAHI)’s international conference held here on Thursday to call for international support and to launch the National Coordinated Actions Program on Avian Influenza, Pandemics Preparedness and Emerging Infectious Diseases (AIPED) for the 2011-2015 period.

Vietnam was once among the countries mostly hit by the avian flu, but with close coordination and support from the international community, the country has achieved encouraging results in preventing the disease over the past eight years.

To date, Vietnam is capable of controlling the circulation of the avian flu and reducing the number of human infected cases. However, the risk of infection from this virus is still high, so the conference is aimed at calling for further support and coordinated actions from domestic and foreign partners to implement the AIPED and find solutions to respond to them in the coming years, said the MARD official.

AIPED was set up to provide a comprehensive route and make notes of important milestones to maintain results obtained so far and to continue the progress against avian flu and the risk of other animal-to-human epidemics, stressed Yuriko Shoji, chief representative of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Vietnam.

Shoji also affirmed the necessity of preparedness to avian flu and possible epidemics, as well as application of lessons from the fight against H5N1 and H1N1 to approaching other highly infected diseases on the basis of the interaction between animals, human beings and the environment.

FAO pledges to continue cooperating with international partners to support Vietnam in implementing the AIPED, she confirmed.

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