Dead Duck

The World Health Organisation has urged Sri Lanka to draw up its battle plan for avian flu, as migratory birds’ stop over in South and South East Asia each September. The World Health Organisation has urged Sri Lanka to draw up its battle plan for avian flu, as migratory birds’ stop over in South and South East Asia each September.

The highly pathogenic avian influenza virus is currently infecting both poultry and human populations, though no human to human transmission has occurred yet.

Affecting about nine countries in South East Asia, including Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and has since spread to Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

To date, 112 humans in four countries have been hit by avian influenza of which about 57 have died.

The WHO is warning countries that the virus is highly unstable and to be alert should a pandemic virus emerge, to which human populations have no immunity.

“There is a cause for concern and we are urging countries to put in place a pandemic preparedness plan so that they are able to respond should an outbreak occur,” Dr. Margaret Chan, Director of Communicable Diseases at the WHO said in Colombo on Tuesda