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Bird Flu brought under control in Tibet
Updated: 2005-08-12 21:09

The Ministry of Agriculture confirmed a bird flu outbreak occurred at the beginning of August on a chicken farm in the suburbs of Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, but said it has now been brought under control.

"So far, the bird flu outbreak has been under control, and no other similar cases has been reported in other parts of the autonomous region," said a high-ranking official with the ministry.

In the wake of the case, the official said, the local government instituted rigid measures to stem the spread of the epidemic.

The local government has culled 2,608 chickens, disinfected and closed the farm, which belongs to the Regional Institute of Animal Husbandry Science.

Lhasa also spotted a bird flu case in 2004.

The official said the outbreak this year started on August 1. Atotal of 133 breeding chickens were infected and died. The State Bird Flu Reference Laboratory later confirmed that these chickens were infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus.

In compliance with the requirements for preventing and treating the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of the avian influenza, the autonomous region has adopted substantial measures such as emergency inoculation of all fowls five km away from the venue of the suspected outbreak, tightening the monitoring of all breeding farms in Lhasa, and launching a daily epidemic reporting mechanism.

Up to now, vaccines for water fowl have been distributed to allareas across Tibet except Ngari Prefecture.

The official said that right after the outbreak of the case, the ministry reported the case to international organizations likethe United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health as well as authorities in China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan districts.

After receiving the report from the ministry, Hong Kong's department for Health, Welfare and Food stopped dealing with applications from Tibet to sell poultry. The department said it would closely monitor the development of the case in the next few weeks.

From January 27 to March 16, 2004, China reported 49 confirmed bird flu cases in 16 provinces, municipalities or autonomous regions of the country. With measures taken by Chinese governmentsat all levels, the deadly virus was curbed in over one month. In 2005, northwest China's Qinghai province and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region had reported three cases in May and June.

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