Sunday, November 20, 2005

More Outbreaks Of Bird Flu In China

BEIJING - China reported on Sunday November 20, 2005

Two new outbreaks of bird flu in which almost 3,700 poultry died and more than 7,000 were culled as provinces hit by the deadly virus tightened preventive measures.

About 3,500 geese died at a family farm in a development zone in Shishou city in the central province of Hubei, the official Xinhua news agency said, adding that 3,800 poultry were slaughtered within a radius of 3 km (2 miles).

In the northern region of Inner Mongolia, 176 domestic poultry died and 3,202 poultry were culled, Xinhua said. It gave no further details.

The agency quoted Health Minister Gao Qiang as saying China has basically brought bird flu under control.

Beijing and four provinces have tightened preventive measures, the Web site of the Ministry of Agriculture said.> China has been trying to contain about a dozen outbreaks of the H5N1 strain among poultry in at least six provinces in the past month. It announced last week plans to vaccinate billions of birds.

A lethal strain of the H5N1 virus has killed 67 of the 130 people it has infected in Asia since late 2003 -- mainly Vietnam and Thailand.

But the real fear is that it will mutate and acquire the ability to pass from human to human, causing a global pandemic.
Last week, Asian Pacific leaders vowed to bolster co-operation to fight bird flu and stage a "desktop" simulation drill in early 2006 to test regional responses and communication in the event of a pandemic.

Beijing was roundly criticized for covering up SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which started in southern China in 2003, then spread to Hong Kong, the rest of Asia and North America, killing hundreds of people.
Courtesy (Reuters)

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