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WHO Calls On Asia To Act Quickly Against Bird Flu

Ukrainian officials ready for the battle against bird flu, 11 January (ITAR-TASS) 12 January 2006 -- The World Health Organization (WHO) says Asia must do more to guard prevent the spread of bird flu.

It made the comment at a conference on bird flu in Tokyo attended by delegates from over 20 countries.

The WHO is setting up an independent bird-flu task force, which is expected to start working in the next few months.

At least 78 people have died of bird flu since 2003. The first deaths outside Southeast Asia and China were recorded in Turkey in early January.

The WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific, Shigeru Omi, says that, despite the spread of bird flu to Turkey, Asia remains the epicenter because contact between humans and poultry is more commonplace on the continent.