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  • Southern Cone nations prepare for bird flu


The 'Southern Cone' nations — Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay — are setting up scientific task forces to plan for the potential arrival of the H5N1 bird flu virus.

The move was proposed at a meeting of the Southern Cone Veterinary Committee on 20 October. The committee also called for the suspension of imports of birds and poultry products from nations where the virus has been found. Bolivia has already done this.

The task forces will report to the committee in November in Bolivia. Agriculture ministers from the region will also meet next month to decide on how to implement the scientists' recommendations.

The committee's president, Rodolfo Tonelli, says countries need stronger links between their veterinary and public health authorities to improve disease monitoring and the exchange of scientific information.
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