Optimism increases in epidemic battle
Updated: 2005-12-23 06:29
With 30 out of 31 outbreak sites lifted out of epidemic isolation, China's
aggressive preventive measures appear to be bearing fruit.
Chief Veterinary Officer Jia Youling told China Daily yesterday the country's
intensive vaccination efforts have paid dividends, as shown in the eradication
of the deadly strain of the bird flu virus in its most afflicted region
Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
"In the case of Xinjiang, we intensified inoculation of birds in November
especially on fowls that might have been spared shots earlier as compared with
what we did in October," Jia said.
Consequently, the region now has a clean bill of health, he said.
All nine poultry outbreaks sites in Xinjiang reported since November 15 had
lifted quarantine closures by Wednesday, said Xing Qinghua, a spokesman for the
region's animal husbandry department.
Xing said Xinjiang will not relent its surveillance and vigilance against
bird flu and prevention of other animal diseases, even though the contagion has
been stamped out for the time being.
The region will also help poultry raisers restore production by apportioning
additional funds, and compensate in time those who sustained losses for the sake
of epidemic control, he said.
China's animal epidemic prevention statutes prescribe that a minimum of 21
days of quarantine must be imposed on an epidemic site until a joint inspection
team consisting of vets and health prevention specialists find no new infections
Yesterday morning, a 24-day quarantine ended in Yongzhou, Central China's
Hunan Province, where a bird flu outbreak was reported on November 28.
By yesterday, only Suichuan County in East China's Jiangxi Province, where
the fatal H5N1 strain of bird flu virus was confirmed a week ago, remained in
"In line with relevant State statute, isolation on the last case can expect
to be relieved around January 6," a staff member with the ministry's Bureau of
Animal Health, who identified himself only as Chen, said yesterday.
China immunized more than 5 billion domestic birds since October, pushing the
poultry immunity density average to 85 per cent, according to the ministry's
Jia said China's experience has shown that increased vaccination plays a
crucial role in bird flu epidemic prevention and control.
The official said the country's bird flu control effort yielded initial
success on December 14, when China had not reported a new case within half a
But he cautioned sporadic cases may come out during the rest of the winter
and next spring the peak seasons for the contagion.
He said yesterday the ministry will continue to strengthen market
supervision, including promoting sales of slaughtered healthy birds over live
poultry, to minimize the risk of spreading infection.