Europe safe from Avian 'flu, say experts

Related tags Avian influenza Influenza European union

Across Europe, governments have been working flat out to calm
public fears about the dangers posed by the current avian 'flu
crisis in Asia. The EU does not import any poultry from Vietnam,
South Korea or Japan, the countries currently affected by the

Nonetheless, the UK's Food Standards Agency found it necessary to state that the current outbreak of avian influenza in the Far East does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

The announcement comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that the deaths of 10 people might have been linked to this outbreak of avian 'flu in Asia. Some strains of avian 'flu can be passed to people in close proximity to infected chickens and can occasionally prove fatal.

Only a very few cases have ever been reported in the UK and there have never been any deaths. There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus so far, but the WHO has warned that if it mutates, it could spread in this way.

The European Commission also announced this week that it is to provide assistance to the Vietnam government in dealing with the Avian Influenza crisis. The move comes in response to the WHO appeal for global support.

"I am pleased to announce that the EU will be able to help the Vietnamese people in their efforts to combat the quickly spreading avian influenza disease,"​ said European health commissioner David Byrne. "European experts with outstanding knowledge and expertise are available to travel to Vietnam over the coming days to assist with the investigation into the human and animal health problems.

"Last year the EU was itself hit by a major outbreak of Avian influenza and having gone through that experience I understand fully the challenges facing Vietnam."

The experts are available to help Vietnamese health authorities in the investigation and containment of human cases of avian influenza, including epidemiological investigation of the pattern of transmission or advice on hospital infection control measures.

They will also support the Vietnamese authorities in their efforts to reduce the risk of transmission of avian influenza from animals to humans, including advice on control measures to protect persons exposed to possible infected animals from disease.

Related topics Food Safety & Quality

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