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Philippine health chief asks communities to prepare bird flu containment plan

Philippine health chief asks communities to prepare bird flu containment plan

The Philippine health secretary asked town mayors Wednesday to prepare bird flu containment plans to control any local outbreak and safeguard the country _ among the few in Asia that have stayed free of the disease.
A bird flu outbreak could have a devastating impact on people and businesses in affected communities and eventually on the national economy, Francisco Duque told mayors at a one-day meeting organized by his department and the Asian Development Bank.
"Every local government, every community should be able to draft a local preparedness and action plan," Duque told the mayors. "Only when action starts in communities can we control and contain a budding epidemic from turning into a deadly national disaster."
The Philippines is one of the few countries in Asia free of bird flu. The H5N1 strain has killed at least 148 people worldwide since it started ravaging poultry stocks in Asia three years ago, according to the World Health Organization.