The Food and Agriculture Organization established a Crisis Management Centre at its Rome headquarters to respond to avian influenza outbreaks and other major animal health or food health emergencies.
"The CMC represents a (substantial) leap forward in FAO's ability to help member nations prevent and cope with disease outbreaks," said Dr. Jacques Diouf, FAO director-general, in a statement. The center is set up in collaboration with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
The CMC operates around the clock, seven days a week, with a staff of up to 15 experts and veterinarians. Disease information is monitored and updated from around the globe continuously. When a suspected outbreak is reported, CMC can dispatch its experts to any "hot spot" in the world in under 48 hours, according to FAO.
The United States has provided more than $5 million and three veterinarians for the CMC, FAO reported. Other contributors include Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Saudi Arabia, China, Greece, and Jordan.
The CMC follows the development of the Global Early Warning and Response System, which was recently launched by the FAO, OIE, and World Health Organization (see JAVMA, Oct. 1, 2006). While the system provides early warning on the avian influenza situation, the CMC facilitates immediate reaction to outbreaks.
To learn more about the Crisis Management Centre, log on to the FAO Web site at www.fao.org, and click on H5N1 Avian Influenza under Knowledge Forum.