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China takes emergency measures on bird flu
Updated: 2005-05-22 08:39

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture(MOA) Saturday required the whole country to take emergency measures to curb further spreading bird flu shortly after they confirmed that the reported death of migratory birds in West China's Qinghai Province was caused by the deadly bird flu virus.

A worker disinfect a truck entering Gangcha county in Qinghai Province May 21 after bird flu cases were reported there. [Xinhua]

The ministry said the national bird flu reference laboratory confirmed that the latest death of migratory birds in Niannaisuoma village, in Gangcha County of Qinghai Province, reported on May 4 was caused by the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.

Sources from the MOA confirmed that some migratory birds had been killed by the virus migrated from Southeast Asia.

According to the national bird flu reference laboratory, different from that spreading in China, the bird flu virus detected in southeast Asia is more deadly and possibly contains a gene for human contraction.

To bar the further spread of the deadly bird flu virus, the MOAhas asked the whole country to pay keen attention to the new confirmed cases of migratory birds and to take effective measures to curb possibly spreading the epidemic.

The MOA asked veterinarian institutions across China to contact local forestry departments to know about the species and territory of migratory birds in their regions to improve emergency projects and to take prevention and control measures.

Local residents have to register their movement in the area May 21 after bird flu was reported in Gangcha County in Qinghai Province in early May as a measure to curb bird flu from spreading. [Xinhua]
The ministry noted that all regions should take essential quarantine measures, prohibiting people to enter the habitats of migratory birds, and stop contact with poultry. Disinfecting measures should be taken effectively to stem the spreading of the virus.

Everyone in the country should enhance monitoring for the epidemic and improve their early-warning system, noted the ministry.

Habitats and routes of migratory birds and regions covered by rivers and lakes, or frequented by water fowl should be taken as the major monitoring points. If spotted, abnormal diseases or deaths among migratory birds should be reported as soon as possible.

The ministry has also called for taking compulsory immunity measures on poultry with habitats and routes of migratory birds and the nearby regions as well as large poultry farms as the emphasis.

According to the ministry, scientific knowledge and measures should be popularized and taken in the move of bird flu prevention and control around the country.

Furthermore, as the prevention and control work for the highly deadly bird flu virus is so arduous and important, it should be taken under the joint efforts of all related departments and institutions, said the ministry.

According to the MOA, there have been no reports of the disease spotted in Qinghai spreading to human beings or fowl.

Qinghai took emergency measures by closing off spots to prevent people and fowl from contacting wild birds. Quarantine measures have also been adopted.

Since China has a mature bird flu diagnosis, monitoring and prevention system, people need not be too worried but should be confident that the new cases can be brought under control as effective measures have been taken by the government, said Cui Shangjin, an expert from the national bird flu reference laboratory.

This is the first report of H5N1 virus detected in China since the country successfully brought 50 cases of bird flu under control last year.

From January 27 to March 16, China reported 49 confirmed bird flu cases in 16 provinces, municipalities or autonomous regions of the country. With measures taken by China's governments at all levels, the deadly virus was curbed in over one month.

The 15th case reported last July in east China's Anhui Province was successfully brought under control pretty soon, too. All those cases had no human contraction in China.

Scenic spot closes to visitors

The bird island in Qinghai Lake, the largest saltwater lake in China, has closed to visitors due to recently reported bird flu cases.

The concerned department of Qinghai Province, northwest China, has established two inspection and quarantine stations on the roadleading to the bird island to prevent entry.

The 0.27-square-kilometer bird island is home to more than 100,000 birds including rare species such as swan, black-necked cranes and brown-headed gull. Large numbers of visitors flock to the bird island to see birds each year.

Death of migratory birds was first reported in Naisuoma Villagein Gangcha County on May 4. By May 8, the number of dead birds reached 178 on the bird island and in nearby areas.

The Ministry of Agriculture announced Saturday that the national bird flu reference laboratory confirmed that the deaths of the migratory birds in Gangcha reported on May 4 was caused by the deadly H5N1 virus.

The disease has not spread to humans and livestock, the ministry said.

The island will reopen after the bird flu is under control, sources said.

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