China's vice agricultural minister on Thursday ordered local
officials to stay vigilant for possible bird flu as the season
began to change.
"The autumn and winter are the prime period for bird flu
outbreak, officials should be aware of the stern situation and
should not underestimate the difficulties in virus control," said
Yin Chengjie, the vice minister of agriculture.
Addressing a televised workshop on bird flu control, Yin said
the virus prevention situation in China is still "serious".
The transport of live fowls might spread the virus, migrant
birds would possibly trigger new outbreak, and we still have
shortfalls in prevention that urgently needs to be overcome, Yin
"We should not underestimate the harms bird flu cause to the
people' life," Yin said, ordering the local governments to enhance
virus immunization before October 20.
The ministry Wednesday reported a new outbreak of bird flu that
has killed about 1,000 domestic poultry in a village in
northwestern China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. A national
laboratory test confirmed on Tuesday that the dead birds were
infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus.
It is the second case of bird flue outbreak for the week,
following another found in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous
Region on September 27, which killed 985 chickens.
Some provinces were preparing too slowly and did not have enough
staff, vaccines or funds. The problem was especially acute in
villages, Yin said, without naming specific parts of the
It was important to step up measures ahead of the autumn, when
migrating birds which have been blamed for outbreaks in the past
would pass through China again, he said.
Yin said the provinces must ready their emergency response
systems and ensure there were enough good quality vaccines.
He said his ministry would dispatch teams to the countryside to
ensure measures being taken were up to scratch.
"We cannot lower our guard," he said.
Scientists fear the bird flu virus could mutate into a form that
could pass easily from person to person, sparking a global
Yet many ordinary people are not yet aware of the severe
The Xinhua news agency reported on a survey by the Chinese
Health Education Association that said only 8 percent of
respondents viewed flu of any kind as being a "serious infectious
Almost a quarter of those polled had no idea that bird flu
outbreaks had to be reported to government authorities.
To improve the situation, a public education program jointly
initiated by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF has been launched in
rural areas. It will be carried out in 1,344 towns of 16 provinces
High-risk groups including children, poultry-breeding farmers,
vendors, poultry processors and village officials will be the main
targets of the education.
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily October 6, 2006)