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China to vaccinate entire poultry stock
(AP/China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-16 06:30

On Monday, a six-member WHO team joined Chinese experts in Hunan and Beijing for field investigation and laboratory tests.

Vice-Health Minister Wang Longde arrived in Liaoning Province, where a woman who had close contact with dead chickens has developed pneumonia. The woman is in hospital and experts have not been able to determine what caused her illness.

Wang is in the Northeast China province for strengthening supervision and control measures against possible poultry-to-human transmission of the virus.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, government officials in Ho Chi Minh City and the capital Hanoi have warned farmers to kill or sell all poultry by Monday. They will be compensated at half the current market value if they act now, but birds found alive after the deadline will be destroyed with no compensation, officials said.

"We hope that clearing out live poultry in the city will help minimize the chances of people getting sick from bird flu," said Huynh Hu Loi, director of Ho Chi Minh City's animal health department. "A pandemic can happen anytime. We are doing all we can."

The campaign is one of the most extreme measures taken in the country to try to slow the H5N1 virus. Vietnam has experienced a surge in poultry outbreaks over the past few weeks. The latest human death was reported last week.

On Tuesday, China said it would also ship 45 tons of bird flu vaccine to Vietnam.

International health experts have warned that the bird flu virus could mutate into a form easily spread among humans, igniting a global pandemic. So far, most human cases have been traced to contact with infected birds.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has encouraged countries to vaccinate birds while practicing other control methods, such as mass slaughtering and the controlled movement of poultry in and around infected areas.

In Indonesia, European Union Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou urged the international community on Tuesday to help the cash-strapped country vaccinate poultry and kill infected birds to fight the disease.

On Monday, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Indonesia doesn't have the funds to compensate farmers for destroying their flocks.

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