The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has warned Asian countries against targeting wild birds in their efforts to control avian influenza.
Fresh outbreaks of the disease — also called bird flu — were announced this month in China, Thailand and Vietnam, and recent research has highlighted the potential for wild bird species to carry the virus responsible for the disease. But, according to the FAO, there is no evidence yet to show that wild bird populations are significant reservoirs of the virus.
Rather, the FAO says poor hygiene in poultry farming, processing and marketing is the key factor encouraging the spread of bird flu. Systems for reducing the transfer of the virus between poultry farms and wild bird populations should be improved or better enforced. This could contribute to the early identification and control of new outbreaks, says the FAO.