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Poultry gets bird flu vaccine in Qinghai
By Liu Wei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-23 05:05

More than 3 million doses of vaccine against the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus were dispatched to Northwest China's Qinghai Province immediately after the Ministry of Agriculture confirmed on Saturday the deaths of migratory birds were caused by the fatal virus.

Poultry across the province is the target of a compulsory vaccination campaign launched by the province's animal disease administrative office under the instruction of the MOA.

A worker disinfect a truck entering Gangcha county in Qinghai Province May 21 after bird flu cases were reported there. [Xinhua]
All domesticated birds in the affected area in Niannaisuoma Village in the province's Gangcha County, where the dead birds were found, were labelled a priority and received the vaccine first.

Poultry raised near the migratory route of these birds was also vaccinated as early as possible, on order of the MOA.

The compulsory vaccinations in the two highly sensitive areas were completed by Saturday afternoon, the animal disease office said.

The vaccinations are being carried out starting with the most threatened areas and then spreading to other parts of the province. All vaccinations are to be completed over the coming two days.

The number of doses matched the poultry population in the province, said Dang Chenyan from the animal diseases office.

According to the MOA, there have been no reports of the disease spreading to human beings or fowl so far, thanks to Qinghai's fast emergency response in sealing off the affected area to prevent people and fowl coming to contact with wild birds.

The MOA confirmed the birds carried the H5N1 strain from Southeast Asia, which is a more deadly variety of bird flu and possibly contains a gene that allows for human contraction based on research conducted by the national bird flu reference laboratory.

However, China has a mature bird flu diagnosis, monitoring and prevention system, and people do not need to panic and should be confident that the new cases will 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.

The administration received the bird samples for examination from the Qinghai Lake National Natural Reserve on May 4.

Some 150 bar-headed geese were found dead on the lakeshore from May 4 to 6, said He Yubang from the nature reserve.

Another 28 dead geese were discovered in the following two days, pushing the death toll up to 178 by the morning of May 8, with no further deaths reported after that.

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

(China Daily 05/23/2005 page1)

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