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European Commission provides EUR 1 million to combat Avian Influenza in Vietnam.



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IP/04/192

Hanoi/Brussels, 11 February 2004

European Commission provides EUR 1 million to combat Avian Influenza in Vietnam

The European Commission will provide Euro 1 million to support Vietnam’s efforts to combat the Avian Influenza crisis in the country. The funds will be used to purchase urgently needed equipment. Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection David Byrne said, “Vietnam is at the forefront of global efforts to fight the present outbreak of avian flu, which is a menace not just for the region, but for the world at large. It is our duty to support it in this battle.”

The EC contribution comes as a response to calls for international assistance from the WHO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The funds are immediately available and will be used to buy protective equipment for veterinarians and farmers who handle infected poultry, as well as for laboratory and hospital equipment. The present mass culling of affected poultry populations in Vietnam alone involves over 15.000 persons, many of whom so far lack adequate protective gear. Fourteen persons have already succumbed to the avian influenza virus since the onset of the epidemic in Vietnam.

Given the need for a strong coordination of support by different international donors, the equipment will be procured through the WHO.

European Health Commissioner Byrne had visited Vietnam in mid-January when the avian influenza outbreak was unfolding, and promised his Vietnamese interlocutors the support of the European Commission. Following Mr Byrne’s visit, the European Commission had already deployed three European Union experts to Vietnam. A French animal health expert arrived in Vietnam in late January to assist in efforts to eradicate the disease from the country’s poultry farms. In February, he was joined by two public health specialists from research institutes in Germany and the Netherlands who are advising the Vietnamese authorities on measures to prevent the further human transmission of the influenza to humans. - Further EU experts remain on standby.

Useful links: On avian influenza and human health:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_threats/com/Influenza/avian_influenza_en.htm

On avian influenza and animal health:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/avian_en.htm

Website of the Delegation of the European Commission to Vietnam:

http://www.delvnm.cec.eu.int

The European Union in the World:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/world/