- Title: WHO urges health authorities to step up bird flu reporting
- Date: 23rd January 2017
- Summary: LATRILLE, LANDES DEPARTMENT, FRANCE (FILE - JANUARY 6, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WORKERS IN PROTECTIVE SUITS CARRYING DUCKS TO ASPHYXIATING MACHINE
- Embargoed: 6th February 2017 12:18
- Keywords: bird flu WHO World Health Organization avian influenza birds ducks poultry H7N9 China
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / LATRILLE, LANDES DEPARTMENT, SAINT-GRIEDE AND SAINT ANTOINE D'AUBEROCHE, FRANCE / UNKNOWN LOCATION, CHINA
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / LATRILLE, LANDES DEPARTMENT, SAINT-GRIEDE AND SAINT ANTOINE D'AUBEROCHE, FRANCE / UNKNOWN LOCATION, CHINA
- Country: France
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA00160AXLC7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES AND MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday (January 23) urged all countries to monitor closely outbreaks of deadly avian influenza in birds and poultry and to report promptly any human cases that could signal the start of a flu pandemic.
Different strains of bird flu have been spreading across Europe and Asia since last year, leading to large-scale slaughtering of poultry in certain countries and some human deaths in China.
"The world is better prepared for the next influenza pandemic, but not at all well enough. I am asking all countries to keep a close watch over outbreaks of avian influenza in birds and related human cases. Just since November of last year, nearly 40 countries have reported fresh outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in poultry or wild birds. The rapidly expanding geographical distribution of these outbreaks and the number of virus strains currently co-circulating have put WHO on high alert," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said on Monday as she opened the U.N. agency's 10-day executive board.
The new H5N6 strain causing severe outbreaks in Asia was created by gene-swapping among four different viruses, she said.
In China, there have been "seasonal" epidemics of H7N9 infections in humans since 2013, up now to more than 1,000 cases of which nearly 39% proved deadly.
Since last December, there has been a "sudden and steep increase" in human cases of H7N9 and the WHO has not been able to rule out limited human-to-human spread in two clusters of human cases although no sustained spread has been detected thus far, Chan said.
"As required by the International Health Regulations, all countries must detect and report human cases promptly. We cannot afford to miss the early signals," she added.
Under the International Health Regulations, a binding legal instrument, WHO's 194 member states are required to detect and report human cases promptly,
China's delegation told the Geneva meeting China would carry out its obligations on communicating and responding to any outbreaks.
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