Bird flu epidemic unlikely in China: expert

Updated: 2012-01-10 16:41


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BEIJING - A health expert Tuesday ruled out the possibility of a large-scale bird flu epidemic in China, which reported a death caused by H5N1 virus on the last day of 2011.

"Under the current circumstances, there is little chance of a large-scale bird flu epidemic, but there will be individual human cases," said Li Dexin, director of the Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention under the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), at a press conference Tuesday.

Since the monitoring network and treatment have improved over the past few years, bird flu is not likely to cause a big health crisis, Li said.

On January 2, health authorities in south Guangdong province confirmed that the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus led to the death of a bus driver in Shenzhen, but the source of the virus remained unclear.

At the same press conference, Deng Haihua, spokesman of the Health Ministry, said health departments across the country have stepped up monitoring of bird flu infections after the Shenzhen case was identified.

Hospitals will prepare well for the treatment of bird flu infections, he added.

The country has continually emphasized the importance of training medical workers and the build-up of a monitoring network for bird flu, he said.

The bird flue epidemic swept Southeast Asia in early 2005 and spread to China in November 2005.

By August 2006, China reported 21 infection cases of bird flu and 14 deaths from the disease.