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Asia Promises Cooperation on Bird Flu - 2004-01-28


Delegates to a bird flu conference in Bangkok have agreed to set up a regional veterinary network to help fight the disease.

A statement read by Thailand's foreign minister (Surakiart Sathirathai) also says the international health experts at the conference believe that travel restrictions are unnecessary, since the disease does not spread from person to person.

Ministers and representatives from Asian nations with confirmed cases of bird flu, as well as representatives of international health organizations and poultry importers discussed ways to fight bird flu at today's (Wednesday's) meeting.

In his opening address to the delegates, Thailand's prime minister (Thaksin Shinawatra) called the outbreak of bird flu sweeping Asia a serious threat to public health and the region's economies.

At least 10 people so far are known to have died of the virus: eight in Vietnam and two in Thailand. The illness is believed to be passed from birds to humans, rather than from person-to-person.

Affected regions have killed of tens of millions of chickens and other poultry in the effort to stop the spread of the disease. Asian poultry producers have seen the market for their products dry up as buyers shun chicken and other suspect fowl.

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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