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Home > News > Report

SAARC officials to meet on bird flu

Josy Joseph in New Delhi | February 13, 2004 19:22 IST

Senior officials from the ministries of health, agriculture and livestock of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation countries are meeting in New Delhi for an emergency meeting to take stock of the bird flu that has claimed at least 19 lives in Asia.

The emergency meeting will take place on February 16, a senior Ministry of External Affairs official told

The meeting will discuss ways to fight the avian virus, which according to the World Health Organisation could be more dangerous than SARS if its spread from birds to humans is not checked at the earliest.

Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj would make the keynote address, while Agriculture Minister Rajnath Singh would chair the meeting.

"The meeting demonstrates the resolve of the SAARC countries to counter this health hazard under the multilateral forum," said a MEA statement. An official said the meeting will be attended by delegates from Pakistan.

Nineteen people, several of them children, have died in Asia, mostly in Vietnam and Thailand where the flu has infected some humans.

Millions of chickens have been killed to control the flu. WHO officials, however, say the unhygienic way of killing the infected livestock may worsen the situation.

Bird Flu: The New Health Crisis

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