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Greater efforts on bird flu control urged
Updated: 2005-11-07 09:43

Chinese Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu on Sunday ordered all localities and departments to work harder to resolutely prevent the spread of bird flu epidemic and any human infection of the virus.

"We should concretely enhance our sense of urgency and responsibility in the prevention and control of the highly pathogenic bird flu," said Hui, who heads a national working team on the prevention and control of such disease, at a national television and telephone conference.

Hui said the disease has become the number one killer for China's poultry husbandry and a major threat to public health and security.

"We must be clear-headed about this, conduct scientific assessment and make ample preparations for it. We should by no means slacken our vigilance," said Hui.

He stressed the necessity to put the interests of the people first, give priorities to prevention, improve the contingency arrangements and implement a responsibility system in the work.

Hui listed several tasks that need to be done, including beefing up the monitoring, alert and forecast systems, improving contingency plans and arrangements, enhancing immunization, strengthening international exchanges and cooperation, and maintaining a sound market environment for healthy poultry and related products.

Meanwhile, efforts should be made to establish a prevention andcontrol mechanism with long-lasting effects, he said.

He added that funds for animal epidemic prevention should be increased, a team of grass-roots veterinarians should be well trained and maintained, research of the epidemic prevention and control technology should be enhanced, and vaccines and medicines should be prepared and stored up in advance.

"The mode of operation of the poultry husbandry should also be modified to ensure sustained and healthy development of the sector," said Hui.

China's Ministry of Health on Sunday gave a briefing on three pneumonia cases of unknown causes in Xiangtan County, central China's Hunan Province, where an H5N1 bird flu epidemic broke out recently.

"After conducting comprehensive analysis, experts said although the three cases are diagnosed as pneumonia of unknown causes at present, the possibility of human infection of the highly deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu cannot be ruled out," a spokesman for the ministry said.

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