Avian Flu and Pandemic Preparedness (June 2006)

The Issue

Since its emergence in Southeast Asia in 2003, avian influenza has swept across Asia, Europe and Eurasia, and Africa. Between February and April 2006, the number of countries reporting H5N1 in animals was more than double the number of countries reporting cases between 2003 and 2005. Because of the rapid spread of the virus, there is growing concern it could develop into a global human pandemic with the potential to kill millions.

In efforts to contain and prevent further spread of H5N1, more than 200 million birds across Asia, Europe and Eurasia, and Africa have been destroyed, threatening the livelihoods of poultry farmers, economic growth, and overall sustainable development.

In addition, 207 human cases of H5N1 had been confirmed of which 115 cases were fatal. The majority of the cases were in Southeast Asia.

Concerns about the possibility of an avian influenza pandemic have prompted international and national efforts to institute pandemic preparedness measures.

What Needs to be Done

Given the rapid spread of the H5N1 virus and the potential devastating impact on the international community, APCAC encourages the U.S. government to continue to be actively engaged in international efforts to contain and lessen the impact of the virus.

APCAC supports the initiatives of the U.S. Government in the Asia Pacific region which include:

  • Elevating the issue on national agendas
  • Coordinating efforts among donor and affected nations
  • Mobilizing and leveraging resources
  • Increasing transparency in disease reporting and surveillance
  • Building capacity to identify, contain, and respond to a pandemic

Saipan Chamber of Commerce

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce started even before the political status of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) was defined in 1978. Towards the end of 1959, a group of entrepreneurial businessmen got together to form a loose association of businesses. Today, the Saipan Chamber of Commerce is the largest private business organization in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. With over 140 business members, the Chamber is an association aligned to make a difference in the Commonwealth community.