- Now that most Asian countries record significant success in the fight against the deadly bird flu, resources to tackle the virus might shift to Africa, UN officials revealed today. The disease is now discovered in more and more countries in north-eastern Africa.
The virus caused death in Indonesia and its outbreak was reported in South Korea means it is not completely eradicated in Asia - the source of the H5N1.
But previously hard-hit countries such as Thailand and Vietnam have had success in containing the virus, Samuel Jutzi, director of the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) animal production and health division, told 'Reuters'.
With domestic resources at their disposal coupled with external resources, countries in Asia have become successful in the fight against the deadly virus. "Africa is much weaker, economically and structurally, to respond," Mr Jutzi said.
Mostly in Asia, the virus has killed a total of 153 people after it jumped from birds to humans. If getting able to jump from person to person, the feared virus may become a forceful global human pandemic against which there is no cure.
In Africa, it was discovered in Egypt, Nigeria, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso last year. This year, it has been discovered in Uganda and Djibouti, while there are possible cases being investigated in Somalia and Sudan. In Africa, the virus has only killed humans in Egypt so far.
By now, there is concern the disease is spreading particularly in East Africa and action is to focus on Africa. The UN is organising a meeting in the Malian capital Bamako next week to prioritise the fight against bird flue in Africa.
"This time, the focus is on Africa," FAO's Mr Jutzi said. "Africa is much less in a position to control the disease than Asia."
According to World Bank officials, Africa needs more than US$ 500 million to fight the bird flu.
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