John E. Lange Remarks at New Delhi International Ministerial Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza, December 4, 2007   [open pdf - 26KB]

From the remarks of John E. Lange: "Those of us in this hall have been exchanging views and information on avian and pandemic influenza in recent years along lines which can seem discouragingly static. At the meeting of the International Partnership on Avian and Pandemic Influenza in Washington in October 2005, through subsequent major international conferences in Beijing, Vienna, and Bamako, there have been mutual and very justifiable calls for vigilance and speed in preventing and responding to H5N1 outbreaks in poultry, for transparency in dealing with them when they occur, and for perseverance and determination in preparing for a possibly catastrophic human pandemic when a virus mutates to that point. These are familiar themes, which can induce a feeling of deja vu and 'business as usual.' I would submit to you, however, that a case can be made that the dogged repetition of these themes has in fact produced solid results, and that we have moved into a new phase in the long campaign to confront highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in birds, which also has infected more than 300 people in the world, as well as to prepare for the possibility of a human pandemic influenza should this virus mutate. While we have made progress during the years since the virus first appeared, we now need to shift some of our efforts from the 'emergency' phase of identifying and dealing with avian outbreaks to a greater emphasis on long-term capacity-building to improve both animal and human health systems as they relate to the H5N1 avian influenza virus and other emerging and remerging infectious zoonotic diseases."

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