France must take bird flu fight to Africa: Chirac

2nd March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 1, 2006 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday that France must take its fight against bird flu abroad, mainly to Africa, and told his government to allocate millions of euros and specialist teams to the problem.

PARIS, March 1, 2006 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac said Wednesday that France must take its fight against bird flu abroad, mainly to Africa, and told his government to allocate millions of euros and specialist teams to the problem.

It was "imperative to extend our action beyond our borders and notably to Africa," his office quoted him as telling his cabinet.

He called for 10 million euros (12 million dollars) to be given to international organisations tackling the disease and for field teams to be sent out.

France itself is currently faced with a serious outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

A turkey farm in the east of the country last week became the first poultry enterprise in the European Union to report being hit by the virus, resulting in a deep decline in poultry exports from France -- the fourth-biggest supplier in the world and the biggest in the EU.

Wild ducks and geese in the east of the country have also died of H5N1.

Chirac praised authorities' reactions to the outbreak but said further measures were needed to support the poultry industry and reassure consumers.

He also called for "total vigilance" during the remainder of the wild bird migratory season currently underway.

Chirac's Prime Pinister Dominique de Villepin said at news conference that he would observe a nationwide exercise scheduled for March 15-16 designed to test responses to a bird flu epidemic in the country.

Health experts worry that H5N1 might mutate into a form transmissible between humans, resulting in a global pandemic that could kill millions.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article