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Farmers told to look out for fake vaccines
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-02-17 23:46

China is intensifying its efforts to ensure fake or inferior vaccines will not hurt its bird flu epidemic control efforts.

Feng Zhongwu, deputy-director of the China Inspection Institute of Veterinary Pharmaceuticals, Tuesday said effective measures must be taken to stop phony veterinary medicines from entering rural markets.

"Fakes must be prohibited," he said.

In Xinle city of North China's Hebei Province, chicken farmer Zhang Jianxin lost much of his flock after using a cheap vaccine bought from an unlicensed dealer in January.

Police arrested Li Zhongqi, a 33-year-old farmer from Xinxiang City in central Henan Province, who graduated from an animal husbandry college and began making and marketing fake veterinary drugs in 2001.

Li Kailun, chief scientist of the avian influenza prevention group in the province, said fake vaccines are likely to cause serious problems to flocks.

He said genuine vaccines are prepared with a weakened or dead pathogen, such as a bacterium or virus, that stimulate antibody production, but are incapable of causing severe infection.

Therefore, the pathogen content must be accurately calculated to guarantee quality and safety. If the content is lower than the standard amount, the vaccination is ineffective. Too much pathogen, on the other hand, harms the birds, Li said.

The State Administration of Industry and Commerce has urged local departments to strike hard against transactions of fake vaccine.

The focus is on the regions around the affected areas and rural countryside and it is particularly important to uncover the hidden manufacturers and dealers, the agency said.

The national bird flu control command headquarters in Beijing has warned farmers not to buy vaccines from markets but get them from local veterinary stations.

Compulsory vaccinations, paid for by the government, will be conducted on poultry within 5 kilometres of an area where highly pathogenic strains of bird flu are reported.

Vaccines used in unaffected areas will be subsidized by the government, a headquarters staff confirmed Tuesday.

The Ministry of Agriculture Tuesday said suspected cases of the H5N1 strain of bird flu have been confirmed in Shaodong County and Heshan District of Yiyang City, Central China's Hunan Province.

No new suspected cases were reported to the ministry Tuesday.

In Northeast China's Jilin Province, which reported its first suspected bird flu case in Baicheng City on Monday, a local epidemic prevention worker, who identified himself only as Hu, said he suspected the migratory birds might be a cause of the outbreak.

All poultry including chicken, ducks and geese have been killed within a 3-kilometre radius of the Nanmo Village, the bird flu infected site in Baicheng, Hu said.

Also Tuesday, hundreds of wild storks became the latest casualty of the virus in Thailand and new infections were reported in chickens kept as household pets in Japan.

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