Beijing steps up efforts to fight bird flu
By Guo Nei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-24 05:14
The Chinese capital has stepped up its efforts to fight bird flu by sending
inspectors to farms, homes and migratory bird sanctuaries to enforce disease
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that although
China has a strong political determination to tackle the problem and had stepped
up monitoring efforts, more needed to be done at the local level.
A Chinese vendor cleans a slaughtered chicken
at a market in Nanjing, in east China's Jiangsu province, October 22,
The stepped-up veterinary checks came after the Ministry of Health warned
last week that a "danger of the fatal disease spreading to human beings exists."
The country's top leaders also warned that the country faces a "grave" threat
from avian influenza, as both Asia and Europe try to contain the deadly virus.
Officials in Beijing have begun checking chickens, ducks, and geese and even
carrier pigeons being raised as pets in the city to make sure they are properly
vaccinated or isolated, the Beijing Youth Daily reported.
So far, around 98 per cent of the poultry raised on Beijing's farms has been
vaccinated. Officials hope to increase that rate to 100 per cent in the coming
days, the report quoted city agricultural officials as saying.
Poultry markets, slaughterhouses and zoos will also be monitored, and special
attention will be paid to farms near sanctuaries for migratory birds, which are
believed to have brought bird flu to several countries.
In Beijing, security was to be stepped up at airports, bus and train stations
and at border crossings to prevent birds from infected areas reaching the
capital, said the report.
Municipal officials were also taking steps to ensure there is an adequate
stockpile of vaccines and disinfectants.
Southern China's Guangdong Province said it would set up a surveillance
system to detect animal diseases quickly and prevent the spread to humans, the
Beijing Youth Daily said in a separate report.
Elsewhere, Britain and Sweden are among the latest countries to report cases
of the disease, while India and a host of African states are preparing for the
arrival of migratory birds that may be carrying the virus.
The potentially fatal H5N1 strain of the virus has so far claimed the lives
of more than 60 human victims, with the latest being a man in Thailand last
(China Daily 10/24/2005 page2)