Paris, France (PANA) - Rich countries and multinational institutions should help Africa address the avian flu problem, or else be prepared for its contamination effect, international relations expert David Lawson said here Tuesday.
"Avian flu has no borders, and when a country fails to control it, this may contaminate the rest of the world," Lawson who is also an adviser on African affairs at the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said.
"The progression of the H5N1 virus among birds in Africa and elsewhere, despite not having been linked to increased risk for humans, predisposes mankind to infection," he told PANA in an interview.
"The poor state of the health infrastructure in many African countries is reason enough for rapid progression of the disease on the continent, with human contamination as a possible result," said the expert, stressing that avian flu has been spreading despite efforts by various world institutions and governments to contain it.
"Millions of birds have already been destroyed, and 167 people have died of avian flu across the world, including 13 in Egypt, and another one in Nigeria," he stressed.
Lawson said avian flu outbreak was part of "a larger phenomenon of new upsurge and re-emergence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, meningitis, cholera, or plague, which are well-known, and other recent diseases such as AIDS, SARS, or Chikungunya".
He said that given the international scope of infectious diseases and their rapid expansion, the non African countries should equally worry about what's happening on the continent.
"It should be clear that infectious diseases and environment will be the two issues whereupon the future of mankind will depend" said Lawson.
PANAPRESS AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY, PARIS, février 2007