Children's environmental health

Public health strategies for preventing aflatoxin exposure, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, 26-28 July 2005

The International Mycotoxin Workshop: Public Health Strategies for Preventing Aflatoxin Exposure, sponsored by United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) took place at the WHO Headquarters on 26-28 July 2005. Representatives with very diverse expertise and coming from countries that have been affected by a number of Aflatoxicosis outbreaks came together to discuss a broad range of critical issues associated with reducing human health impact - especially on children- from aflatoxin exposure.

The Workshop was very successful in highlighting key opportunities and challenges for enhancing ongoing efforts, as well as initiating new work that can contribute to effectively addressing this problem in Kenya and globally--both immediately and over the long term. Experts on different areas were able to identify key gaps in knowledge about aflatoxins and stressed the need to include public health strategies that will significantly contribute to current efforts for preventing aflatoxin exposure. The workshop deliberations clarified how can different sectors, scuh as health, agriculture, education and environment contribute to the collective campaign to reduce human health impacts.

The main outcomes include: a workgroup report for publication, plans to explore possible collaborative projects addressing aflatoxicosis in the developing world and preparation of guidance materials for health care providers (including questionnaires to be administered to patients presenting with jaundice or potentially exposed to aflatoxins) . A major outcome of the meeting was the networking among experts from different sectors and countries who were able to exchange and ahsre experiences and plan future activities to protect the health of the most vulnerable population groups.