Ex­perts from Asia-Pa­cific coun­tries dis­cuss zoonotic in­fluenza

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Dorji

Sixty-nine par­tic­i­pants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cam­bo­dia, In­dia, In­done­sia, Ja­pan, DPR Korea, Lao PDR, Mon­go­lia, Myan­mar, Nepal, Thai­land and Viet­nam gath­ered in Paro from 29th Au­gust to 31st Au­gust for the Asia-Pa­cific Work­shop on zoonotic in­fluenza. They dis­cussed is­sues and way for­ward for bet­ter sur­veil­lance, pre­ven­tion and con­trol of zoonotic in­fluenza was

Ac­cord­ing to a spokesper­son, the on­go­ing out­breaks of avian in­fluenza are hav­ing an im­pact on pub­lic health, trade and econ­omy of the sev­eral Asia-Pa­cific coun­tries. Var­i­ous sub­types of avian in­fluenza in­clud­ing H5N1, H5N6, H9N2 and H7N9 are found in the re­gion with zoonotic in­fluenza de­scrib­ing the types that are trans­missi- ble from in­fected an­i­mals to hu­mans.

The in­fluenza, if it be­comes pan­demic, is risky to both hu­man and an­i­mal health. There­fore, ex­perts from 13 coun­tries are in­volved in pre­ven­tion and con­trols of avian in­fluenza in­clud­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the WHO (World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion), FAO (Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the United Na­tions) and OIE (World Or­ga­ni­za­tion for An­i­mal Health) among oth­ers through One Health ap­proach.

Ac­cord­ing to OIE, the One Health ap­proach fo­cuses on the no­tion that hu­man and an­i­mal health are in­ter­de­pen­dent and bound to the health of the ecosys­tems in which they ex­ist. FAO states that One Health is in­creas­ingly rec­og­nized as a cost-ef­fec­tive way to deal with emerg­ing dis­eases at the hu­man-an­i­mal-ecosys­tems in­ter­face.

An up­date on the sit­u­a­tion and sci­en­tific in­for­ma­tion of zoonotic in­fluenza viruses at global, re­gional and coun­try lev­els were pre­sented dur­ing the work­shop. Par­tic­i­pants also shared knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ences and made rec­om­men­da­tions on in­fluenza sur­veil­lance, pre­ven­tion and con­trol across the re­gion. The work­shop served as a plat­form to dis­cuss the need for more ad­e­quate co­or­di­na­tion mech­a­nisms given that emerg­ing dis­eases in hu­mans of an­i­mal ori­gins are best ad­dressed through multi-dis­ci­plinary and multi-sec­toral ap­proaches. A field visit to the Na­tional Cen­tre for An­i­mal Health and Pub­lic Health were also or­ga­nized for par­tic­i­pants.

The Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Forests, Yeshey Dorji in­au­gu­rated the work­shop. He stressed on the need for a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach to con­trol the emerg­ing dis­eases. He shared that Bhutan has joined other na­tions in us­ing the ‘One Health’ con­cept as a core strate­gic tool ad guid­ing prin­ci­ple to pre­pare against the zoonotic in­fluenza.

WHO and OIE jointly in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Depart­ment of Live­stock or­ga­nized the work­shop.

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