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China: Foot-and-mouth disease under control
Updated: 2005-05-27 16:21

China found foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in cattle in three new areas and had brought them under control, a senior Agriculture Ministry official said on Friday.

Jia Youling, director general of the veterinary bureau of the Agriculture Ministry, briefs the press about recent cases of foot-and-mouth disease and bird flu in China at the news conference in Beijing May 27, 2005. [china.org.cn]
More than 800 head of cattle had been killed and incinerated to control the outbreaks, in Beijing, the neighbouring province of Hebei and the western region of Xinjiang, he said.

"All the sick cows and cows living in the same area have been culled. The disease has been put under effective control and has not spread," said Jia Youling, director general of the veterinary bureau of the Agriculture Ministry, at a press conference organized by the State Council Information Office.

No pigs had been found to be infected, he said.

Foot-and-mouth disease causes severe weight loss in cloven-hooved animals. It does not affect humans and outbreaks are relatively easy to control.

Earlier in April, foot and mouth disease was also reported confirmed in cattle in the provinces of Shandong and Jiangsu.

From April to May, more than 4,000 head of cattle were culled, Jia said.

Jia said there had been no coverup of the outbreak because it takes time to confirm the disease through laboratory tests. He said the disease did not pose a threat to public health.

H5N1 kills more than 1,000 birds

A strain of bird flu deadly to humans has killed more than 1,000 migratory birds in northwest China by May 26, Jia said, much higher than the initially reported dead.

Earlier this week, China sealed off nature reserves and rushed more than 3 million doses of bird flu vaccine to far-flung Qinghai province after migratory birds were found dead from the H5N1 strain.

"What we have been doing is preventing domestic fowl and people from having contact with wild migrant birds," Jia told the news conference.

None of the 2.18 million domestic birds in the province had been found to be infected, he said. He dismissed rumours any humans had been infected.

Poultry in Qinghai and the far western regions of Xinjiang and Tibet have been the targets of a compulsory vaccination campaign in an effort to control the disease and prevent it from spreading to domestic fowl or to humans.

China successfully curbed an outbreak in the same region last year, burning about 145,000 culled birds.

But experts said there was still a chance domestic poultry could be at risk, since they often share water and feeding sources with wild birds.

H5N1 first surfaced in poultry in Hong Kong eight years ago and has killed 37 people in Vietnam, 12 in Thailand and four in Cambodia.

Global health officials fear it could mutate into a lethal strain that could rival the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed between 20 million and 40 million people.

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