... .. top news


The Ministry of Agriculture confirmed two new cases of bird flu yesterday and said suspected cases were spotted in three other areas.

The National Bird Flu Laboratory said the confirmed cases were located in the city of Wuxue in Hubei Province as well as in Wugang in Hunan Province.

Since the discovery of avian flu in China, local governments have enforced sweeping poultry culling and prompt quarantine measures.

To date, the situation where the two new cases were confirmed is under control, said a report from the disease prevention agency.

The new suspected cases, meanwhile, were found in East China's Shanghai, Guangde county and Ma'anshan city in Anhui Province, and in Jiedong county in South China's Guangdong Province.

There, authorities have also undertaken the slaughter of poultry and birds affected are under observation at relevant agencies.

Wang Longde, vice-minister of public health confirmed yesterday that no bird flu infections in human have so far been found on the Chinese mainland.

"People in close contact with infected poultry have undergone medical examina-tion and observation, but no human infections have been spotted," he said.

Local health authorities were asked to report immediately to the Ministry of Public Health if human infections of bird flu were discovered and to take rigid measures to minimize the spread of the disease, Wang said.

Also yesterday, the State Council, China's Cabinet, decided to set up a national command centre to battle bird flu and named Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu to run it. The move came a day after Premier Wen Jiabao issued an eight-point directive instructing agencies to deal aggressively with the problem.

Inspection teams, jointly dispatched by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Public Health and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, have gone to the bird flu-affected areas to inspect the local prevention and control work.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Public Health have reported the new suspected cases to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as relevant departments in Hong Kong and Macao.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman from the WHO announced on Friday that they had discovered the H5N1 virus, as avian flu is also known, in samples drawn last April and these samples were from outside China.

But she said she is not sure whether the virus found in samples is the same as the one now affecting Asia, the spokeswoman was quoted as saying by Roy Wadia, an official at the WHO office in China.

Xinhua and China Daily news

(China Daily 01/31/2004 page1)


Copyright by chinadaily.com.cn. all rights reserved.