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Official: No signs of bird flu spreading
Updated: 2004-07-08 17:00

A senior official with China's Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said here Thursday that there are no signs of bird flu spreading and the public needs not to panic.

Yu Kangzhen, deputy head of the national veterinary headquarters under the ministry, said the bird flu control system built during the spring outbreak and the hot summer weather, will help prevent the bird flu from spreading.

A health worker burns slaughtered chickens in Chaohu, Anhui province, July 7, 2004 after an outbreak of bird flu in the area. [newsphoto]
The national bird flu reference laboratory confirmed on Tuesday that chicken deaths days ago in Chaohu City, east China's Anhui province, was caused by the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu virus. It was the same virus that hit the country on Jan. 27 this year at a duck farm in the Dingdang Township, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Yu said, since the chicken farm in Chaohu is located on a slope and close to Chaohu Lake, migrant birds or waterfowls might have been responsible for the outbreak.

The spring outbreak concentrated in east China where there were massive herds of water birds might make them natural habitats for the virus, according to the deputy head.

As one of the emergency measures, the culling of chicken three kilometers away from the outbreak site have been underway, and vaccination for chickens within five kilometers from the site have been finished, Yu said.

All the entries into the affected area were blocked. Fowl trade and private slaughtering were forbidden in all the markets within a 10 km radius of the affected area.

A farmer drives his tractor back into the area restricted for a new bird flu case in Juchao District, Chaohu of Anhui Province, East China. People living inside the area seemed to have somewhat of a normal life Wednesday. But poultry within a 3-kilometre radius were killed and deeply buried. [newsphoto]
Officials with the Ministry of Agriculture said that the ministry received the report of chicken deaths on July 3 and soon dispatched a group of experts to the affected area in Anhui to give instructions in prevention and control of the disease.

The ministry has informed the case to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, World Health Organization (WHO), relevant authorities of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Wang Tangren, a project official with the Chinese Office of the FAO, confirmed that they have received the report on the case from the MOA and have already transferred the report to the headquarters and regional offices of the FAO.

Between Jan. 27 and March 16 of 2004 when the ministry lifted quarantine on the last two affected areas in Lhasa of Tibet and Nanning, Guangxi's capital city, there were 49 bird flu cases that were confirmed and controlled.

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