US, France team up to detect bird flu outbreaks

7th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 6, 2006 (AFP) - France and the United States are to join forces to detect early outbreaks of bird flu under an agreement signed in Paris on Monday, officials from both countries said in a joint statement.

PARIS, Feb 6, 2006 (AFP) -  France and the United States are to join forces to detect early outbreaks of bird flu under an agreement signed in Paris on Monday, officials from both countries said in a joint statement.

The memorandum of understanding struck between France's Institut Pasteur and the US Department of Health and Human Services said they "agreed to carry out joint activities, beginning in Southeast Asia, to strengthen global capacity to detect influenza viruses that could have the potential to trigger a human pandemic."

The accord was the latest measure taken by developed countries to confront the threat posed by avian flu that has spread from Asia into Turkey and possibly Iraq.

The H5N1 strain of the virus has claimed more than 85 human lives, most of them in Asia, though fears that it could mutate into a devastating form transmitted between humans have not yet been realised.

The Franco-US agreement, signed by the deputy secretary of the US department, Alex Azar, and Institut Pasteur president Professor Alice Dautry, establishes a joint working group that aims to increase H5N1 testing in at-risk countries and provide public awareness campaigns.

"The looming threat of a global influenza pandemic demands global, regional and national attention, and preparation and response to a pandemic is a shared responsibility," Azar said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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