International animal and human health experts announced last month that
they had developed a plan to help prevent transmission of the H5N1 avian influenza
virus from poultry to humans and thus reduce the risk of an influenza pandemic.
As of July 21, 2005, 109 human cases of avian influenza had been reported
in Asian countries, resulting in 55 deaths (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/).
The plan was drawn up at a 3-day conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization
for Animal Health, and the World Health Organization. Delegates concluded
that priority should be given to addressing conditions at small-scale and
backyard farms, the setting for most human cases that have arisen. The groups
called on the international community to provide $100 million to fund the
recommended control measures, which include educating farmers and their communities
about changing farming practices (such as not raising poultry and pigs in
close proximity to each other and to humans), vaccinating flocks, and compensating
farmers to encourage them to report suspected outbreaks.
Stephenson J. Bird Flu Plan. JAMA. 2005;294(7):787. doi:10.1001/jama.294.7.787-c