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Anhui starts bird flu emergency mechanism
Updated: 2004-07-07 14:22

East China's Anhui Province has started an emergency mechanism for bird flu control and prevention shortly after a new case of avian influenza confirmed Tuesday by China's Ministry of Agriculture.

A worker mans a checkpoint erected after the bird flu case in Chaohu, Anhui Province was confirmed July 6, 2004. [newsphoto]   

A chicken death was confirmed to be caused by H5N1, a highly pathogenic bird flu virus, at a poultry farm of the Juchao District, the Chaohu City of the province. It was the first case after an earlier outbreak between January and March 2004.

The area around the chicken farm has been isolated by the local government following the death report in accordance with China's Law on Animal Epidemic Prevention.

Experts with the ministry estimated that the virus might be spread by migrants or wild water birds.

According to the provincial headquarters in charge of bird flu control and prevention Wednesday, countermeasures against the epidemic started with the immediate effect upon report received on the new case.

The headquarters were designed to take charge of the coordination of related departments and governments at all levels and dispatches officials to supervise the efforts to prevent the disease from spreading, especially to human beings. To ensure the implementation of the measures, the headquarters have resumed a round-the-clock monitoring system.

Workers spray disinfectants in the area after the confirmation of bird flu in Chaohu, Anhui Province July 6, 2004. [newsphoto]

The provincial government has issued an urgent circular to demand local governments and related departments to deal seriously with regular epidemic control measures, standardize control over poultry raising and strictly sterilize fowl farms.

The circular also said that an epidemic monitoring system and a related information network should be established by local governments at all levels. Supervision should focus on poultry farms and areas that had reported bird flu cases before and on those that were in danger.

According to the circular, the local governments should pay compensations to those who suffer losses from the compulsory poultry vaccination and slaughter. Meanwhile, a responsibility system should be formed for related officials in the fight against the animal epidemic, the circular added.

Earlier report said that the local health authority has ordered the killing of all the poultry within a 3 km radius of the chicken farm and vaccinated all the poultry within a 5 km radius of the affected area.

China's Ministry of Agriculture has informed the bird flu case to the Beijing Office of United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, World Health Organization (WHO), and relevant authorities of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

The ministry confirmed the first bird flu case caused by H5N1 on January 27, 2004 at a duck farm in the Dingdang Township, southChina's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The animal epidemic then spread to several provinces and autonomous regions.

On March 16, the authority lifted quarantine on the last two affected areas in Lhasa of Tibet and Nanning, Guangxi's capital city.

During that period of time, altogether 49 cases of bird flu were confirmed and controlled. So far, no human contraction was reported in China.

Poultry farms serving HK, Macao markets cautioned

Farms raising poultry for Hong Kong and Macao markets in South China's Guangdong Province were urged Wednesday to enhance precautions against contact with wild birds and those raised by other units, to stem an outbreak of bird flu.

The alert, sounded earlier in the day by the provincial Administration for Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine, came after the national bird flu reference laboratory confirmed on Tuesday that the latest death of chickens in east Anhui province was caused by the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu virus.

The administration adopted a range of measures to ensure the health of poultry raised in the province for Hong Kong and Macao, including that all poultry are required to be immunized at least twice.

A system to report the situation of bird flu cases was also ordered to be resumed by the administration.

During the outbreak of bird flu in the country over the first few months of this year, no cases were reported at more than 300 poultry farms in Guangdong which serve Hong Kong and Macao.

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