US embassy cable - 06ROME435

AVIAN INFLUENZA: FAO UPDATE ON ITALY, IRAQ, BULGARIA AND GREECE

Identifier: 06ROME435
Wikileaks: View 06ROME435 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Rome
Created: 2006-02-13 15:42:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: KFLU EAGR EAID CASC SENV SOCI TBIO NI IT GR BU UP AM AJ GG FAO WHO IQ AVIAN INFLUENZA
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ROME 000435 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR IO/EDA, EUR/SE, EUR/WE, NEA/ENA, EA/SEA, OES/IHA 
USAID FOR DCHA/OFDA GGOTTLIEB, PMORRIS; GH/KHILL, DCARROLL 
AND BZINNER; AFR/MHARVEY, ALOZANO; EGAT A/AA JSMITH; 
ANE/ACLEMENTS 
USDA FOR OSEC STUMP/PENN/LAMBERT/CAINE, FAS 
PETTRIE/HUGHES/CLERKIN, APHIS CLIFFORD/HOFFMAN 
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH/USAID 
HHS FOR OGHA (STEIGER) 
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER 
PARIS FOR GCARNER 
USEUCOM FOR ECJ4 
VIENNA PASS APHIS 
CAIRO PASS APHIS 
MILAN PLEASE PASS TO TURIN OFFICE 
 
FROM THE U.S. MISSION TO THE UN AGENCIES IN ROME 
 
E.O.  12958:  N/A 
TAGS: KFLU, EAGR, EAID, CASC, SENV, SOCI, TBIO, NI, IT, GR, BU, UP, AM, AJ, GG, FAO, WHO, IQ, AVIAN INFLUENZA 
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA: FAO UPDATE ON ITALY, IRAQ, 
BULGARIA AND GREECE 
 
REF: (A) 05 ROME 3949; (B) 05 ROME 3320; (C) 05 ROME 2979; 
 
(D) 05 ROME 1142; (E) 05 ROME 3976; (F) 06 ROME 0087; 
(G) 06 ROME 0000; (H) 06 UNROME 0315; (I) 06 UNROME 0430 
 
1.  Based on communications today between USMISSION UN Rome 
staff and Dr. Juan Lubroth, FAO Senior Veterinary Officer, 
FAO will conduct a press conference on February 14 at 10:30 
a.m.  The message that will be relayed will include the 
following: 
 
2. On the Government of Italy's efforts: 
-- FAO applauds efforts by the Government of Italy (GoI) to 
rapidly detect and control the spread of H5N1 in southern 
Italy.  Italian authorities took appropriate measures by 
gathering samples from twenty-two dead swans on Thursday, 
February 9; sending the samples to the FAO/OIE reference 
laboratory, the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle 
Venezie, in Padua where results of the H5N1 strain where 
confirmed on Friday, February 10; and making a timely and 
cogent public announcement on Saturday, February 11. 
Subsequently, on February 12, the Ministry of Health's 
Emergency Crisis Unit met in Rome and included FAO 
representatives in this meeting.  Italian authorities are 
currently working to control the movement of poultry in/to 
the three affected regions.  The GoI has not yet asked for 
FAO technical assistance.  FAO is confident that Italian 
authorities are very capable of handling the situation, as 
Italy has had recent experience containing outbreaks among 
commercial poultry caused by other Avian Influenza viral 
strains, the country has a strong surveillance program, and 
there is a highly advanced consumer protection system.  The 
Italian Chief Veterinary Officer will participate in the 
FAO press conference tomorrow and plans to provide an 
update on his government's efforts. 
 
3. On swan die-offs in Bulgaria and Greece: 
FAO has been expecting the reports of dead swans being 
found along the migratory pathway that stretches from 
Greece to Southern Italy and up through the Balkans and 
encouraging surveillance in these regions.  For example, 
the swan death reported in Bulgaria was an extension of 
that which occurred along the Danube delta last week. 
Bulgaria is a beneficiary country of the Technical 
Cooperation Program (TCP) that FAO launched for Eastern 
Europe.  The TCP aims to strengthen the capacity for 
generating and sharing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza 
(HPAI) disease intelligence and using this to mount an 
emergency preparedness plan to against the introduction of 
HPAI in the region, specifically in relation to wild birds. 
FAO recently launched TCPs in Cairo (for North Africa and 
the Near East), Bamako (for West Africa), Nairobi (for East 
Africa) and Budapest (for Eastern Europe).  FAO has a 
ceiling of $400,000 per TCP and is seeking additional donor 
assistance to expand TCP activities. 
 
4. On poultry culling in Iraq: 
Last night, an FAO animal health and protection officer 
returned to Cairo from Iraq.  The officer was in northern 
Iraq where he assisted in one of the largest government 
operation to cull poultry.  Culling is now very widespread 
and the FAO officer is working with the Naval Military 
Research Unit (NAMRU-3) based out of Cairo on monitoring 
the situation and gathering information.  FAO has indicated 
that Iraq will need between 2-3,000 PPEs.  Initial reports 
from NAMRU-3 indicate that USAID plans to send PPEs while 
USAID and/or other USG agencies plan to send diagnostic 
equipment that will look for anti-bodies instead of the 
virus.  According to Lubroth, it is important that the 
current strategy focus on detecting the virus now in dead 
poultry rather than on detecting lingering anti-bodies in 
live poultry. 
 
5. Russia and Poland have called for a European emergency 
meeting on Avian Influenza.  That meeting is scheduled to 
take place in Brussels from February 27-28. 
 
6. Earlier, Lubroth made a plea once again for seconded 
U.S.-trained veterinary/animal health officers for both 
headquarters and in the field.  FAO would like to place an 
officer in Turkey and in the PRC for six months minimum 
(Note: for the PRC, FAO specifically has requested retired 
APHIS staff member Terry Wilson.  Mr. Wilson was part of 
the USG assessment team deployed to Turkey and has been 
awaiting a USAID contract to conduct work in Africa. If Mr. 
Wilson will not be contracted by USAID, FAO requested his 
services.  End Note)  The organization is currently 
attempting to recruit Larry Allen from the California 
Department of Food and Agriculture for an assignment in 
Rome.  USMISSION UN ROME would appreciate a response to 
previous cables on FAO requests for U.S. seconded officers 
and technical assistance. 
 
7.  USMISSION UN ROME will continue to cover and widely 
disseminate information on FAO activities to combat and 
control Avian Influenza. 
 
CLEVERLEY 

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