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Food and Feed Safety (22-09-2005)

Influenza: Medical and Veterinary experts discuss closer cooperation

The European Commission is hosting the first ever joint meeting of European Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs) and Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) today, to discuss how to improve coordination between animal and public health authorities in addressing the threat of avian influenza and the possible human pandemic that could develop from it. The CMOs and CVOs aim to find ways in which to develop closer co-operation on surveillance, preventative measures and preparedness planning in relation to both human and animal flu. Among the issues on the agenda of the meeting is how to establish a synchronised rapid reaction for vets and doctors in the event of an avian influenza outbreak in the EU. The coordinated response should be such that it ensures both the swift eradication of the virus from poultry farms and as much protection as possible for people in close contact with infected birds (e.g. poultry workers).Today’s meeting, also attended by experts from the ECDC and EFSA, was organised in light of the current avian flu situation in Asia and Russia, and amid growing concerns that a mutation of the deadly H5N1 avian virus, and its adaptation to humans, could lead to a worldwide pandemic.

The minutes of the meeting will be published at: http://europa.eu.int/comm/food/animal/diseases/controlmeasures/avian/index_en.htm