Health Protection Agency Supports Global Efforts To Control Avian Influenza, UK
Sir William Stewart, Chairman of the Agency, said: ?The fact that Agency staff are being called upon to support the ongoing worldwide effort to control the spread of avian flu clearly illustrates that our contribution is recognised and valued internationally.
?The work undertaken by our staff not only demonstrates the Agency's ongoing commitment and support of the World Health Organisation's Global Influenza Programme, it also reflects our constant communication with health protection networks around the world such as the European Centre for Disease Control and the WHO regarding issues relating to avian influenza.?
As a World Health Organization (WHO) accredited laboratory, the Agency's National Influenza Laboratory at Colindale has held a WHO training course for other laboratories worldwide on testing methods to identify any human cases of H5N1. This was attended by countries affected by avian influenza, such as Turkey. Scientists from the Turkish National Influenza Laboratory have subsequently visited the Agency's Centre for Infections for further training.
The Agency, which is regarded by the international health community as an invaluable resource for the supply of advice and guidance, has also seconded several members of staff to international organisations which are focusing on tackling the disease globally and they have shared their expertise on the ground in affected areas. One of its infectious disease experts, currently on secondment to the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), was sent to Turkey to undertake some of the surveillance of human cases of avian influenza.
In addition, a nurse epidemiologist has recently been seconded to WHO for a month to provide infection control briefing to those WHO staff on missions to areas affected by avian influenza. The Agency has also offered support and expertise by responding to requests for staff assistance made by (WHO) Global Outbreak and Response Network (GOARN) including the deployment of staff to countries affected by avian influenza.?
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