China warns of fresh bird flu outbreaks
Updated: 2006-02-21 14:41
China has warned of fresh outbreaks of bird flu this
spring and has banned imports of pet and wild birds from 10 countries recently
hit by the disease, state media said on Tuesday.
China has reported more
than 30 outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in both poultry and wild birds
in a dozen provinces in the past year, along with 12 human cases in recent
months, eight of whom have died.
"There is still
the possibility of bird flu epidemics across a large area (of the country) this
spring," Agriculture Minister Du Qinglin was quoted by the China Youth Daily as
telling a conference.
Du cited increased movement
of migratory birds after the winter and more shipping of poultry as the new
raising season begins, the newspaper said, adding most parts of China's north
were under serious threat.
"The protection given
inoculated birds last autumn is waning and vaccination work for family-raised
poultry in remote rural areas is difficult," Du said.
"The situation is still very grave."
China's top quarantine office issued an urgent notice on
Monday to ban the import of pet birds, wild birds and their products from 10
countries that have reported outbreaks in recent weeks, including Germany,
France, Italy, Egypt and Kuwait.
poultry products from the countries could only clear Customs after tests, the
China Youth Daily said, adding officials would also screen people from the same
countries for fever symptoms.
The H5N1 strain,
which has killed 92 people globally, had been largely confined to Asia before
spreading recently to birds in Middle East, Europe and Africa, a continent
experts fear would be the flashpoint for disastrous outbreaks in