A meeting of donor countries in China has resulted in a funding pledge of some US$1.9 billion to fight bird flu globally. The majority of money will be spent on health and vet services in an aim to prevent the virus from spreading.
The pledge is far more than was expected, with the World Bank officially asking for US$1.5 billion. US$350 million is being donated by the United States, while the European Union has pledged US$250 million.
Almost 80 people have been killed by the H5N1 avian flu virus strain since the outbreak began in 2003, with most of the fatalities occurring in Asia.