North Korea has asked the international community for help in combating a strain of the bird flu virus that has recently killed 50 people in Asia, the world animal health body OIE said Friday.
It said North Korea had asked the Paris-based OIE and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to provide diagnostic tools and technical assistance for disease control, including vaccination.”OIE and FAO welcomed North Korea’s request as a sign of improved transparency and international cooperation,” the OIE said in a statement released after a two-day conference in Paris on the deadly disease.Pyongyang announced the outbreak on March 27, saying it had culled thousands of chickens at two farms in the capital. It has already sought help from South Korea.A U.N. expert said earlier this week the North was battling the H7 strain of avian influenza, which has yet to be seen in Asia but can cause illness in humans. H5N1, the other strain that can infect humans, has recently killed 50 people in Asia.The OIE said FAO experts have already been sent to Pyongyang and were supporting the government in assessing the extent of the outbreak and designing control strategies.The OIE had been asked to help train veterinary experts. (Source: Reuters Health, April 2005)