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Veterinarians and scientists from ten countries in Asia and the Pacific have agreed to set up a bird flu surveillance network within two years. The decision was announced on Wednesday (28 July) at a meeting organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Bangkok, Thailand.

The delegates said greater international cooperation was needed to standardise testing and containment methods in view of the continuous threat avian influenza presents to the region. A spokesperson for the FAO added that there is an "urgent need for medium- to long-term regional plans".

The Bangkok meeting brought together representatives from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Thailand, East Timor and Vietnam. Earlier this month, bird flu new outbreaks were confirmed in China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

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