Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

FLUTRAIN — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44212
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Italy

Learning to diagnose and manage a Bird Flu outbreak

A consortium of scientists collaborated to advance the capabilities of at-risk countries to deal with a Bird Flu outbreak. Shared knowledge, expertise and diagnostic materials should help avert spread of infection.
Learning to diagnose and manage a Bird Flu outbreak
Bird Flu – avian influenza (AI) caused by the virus H5N1 – was previously known to affect only birds. At the beginning of 1997, a dangerous mutation caused it to begin infecting humans for the first time.

Since then hundreds of people in numerous countries have become infected and over half of them have died. Although the virus does not seem to be transmitted from person to person, it is highly infective in persons in contact with infected birds.

Bird Flu has the potential to cause a pandemic, a worldwide epidemic. As is the case with just about every difficulty in life, access to correct and timely information and adequate training for emergency situations is the key to conquering the problem.

In response, a European consortium initiated the EU-funded ‘Training and technology transfer of avian influenza diagnostic and disease management skills’ (Flutrain) project. Its objective was to provide the most up-to-date diagnostic and disease management technology to Accession and International Cooperation (INCO) countries lacking it.

The team comprised 11 members and 8 partners including both trainers and trainees. Significant progress was made, with scientists having conducted two workshops with experts on Bird Flu. These events enabled the passing on of valuable advice and expertise in diagnosis and management. The workshops were followed up with training in partner laboratories to gain practical experience as well as with a CD summarising essential information.

A website was developed to provide participants and the general public access to timely information. Also included were the training sessions and online forums for trainers and trainees.

The consortium planned to provide important new cost-effective tools for diagnosis as well as chemicals needed for tests and analyses. In addition, they aimed to use some funds in a bilateral manner for specific support missions targeting Bird Flu issues.

Flutrain is an important step in averting a possible pandemic scenario regarding the spread of Bird Flu. Armed with knowledge and supplies, Accession and INCO countries will definitely be in a better position to manage a Bird Flu outbreak thanks to the Flutrain project.

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