Because our birds fly way south for winter…
Regional action plan for avian flu, Tuesday, July 25, 2006
THE Sectretariat of the Pacific Community has been tasked with drafting an action plan in the event a human case of the avian influenza is reported in the region.
This was resolved at the weeklong meeting in Nadi this week which focuses on the implementation of the Pacific Regional Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan.
…The aim of the project is to establish immediate measures to prevent and/or respond to a possible outbreak of avian influenza and pandemic human influenza in the region. The focus will be on building capacity within Pacific Island countries for surveillance and diagnosis of avian influenza, and other emerging diseases, and emergency response planning. Activities will cover both public and animal health….
“In the Pacific, human influenza outbreaks can happen at any time of the year, being more influenced by the flow of people from temperate regions than by the local climate. Many islands are visited by large numbers of tourists and there is the potential for new strains of influenza to be transported back to Pacific Island communities in the Northern and Southern hemispheres….
Although there is no certainty that an influenza pandemic will occur, it is a potentially serious threat that must be addressed. The Pacific is vulnerable to the introduction of pandemic influenza through the movement of people, migratory birds and legal and illegal trade in poultry and poultry products. To respond to such a threat, Pacific Island countries need effective preparedness plans and the resources and capacity to implement them. While some countries have developed, or are in the process of developing preparedness plans, and some surveillance and laboratory capacity, none of these have been tested for a pandemic scenario. The priorities identified by regional governments include improved surveillance, development and testing of plans, strengthened public health measures, and inclusion of more sectors/stakeholders in planning and implementation.”