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Bird flu halts poultry exports
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Guangzhou partially suspended exports of live poultry and products such as eggs to neighboring Hong Kong and Macao following the recent outbreak of bird flu, local authorities said yesterday.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory confirmed on Monday that a subtype H5N1 bird-flu strain had killed 9,830 ducks raised in Sixian Village of Panyu district in Guangzhou earlier this month.

The suspension, which is to last three weeks starting from last Monday, applies to registered poultry farms and plants processing poultry products located within a 24 km radius of the site of the bird-flu outbreak, a spokesman for the Guangdong entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau said.

Local authorities have also suspended exports of all waterfowl and related products to Hong Kong and Macao for a week, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, all registered live poultry farms in Guangdong that supply the markets of Hong Kong and Macao have been ordered to make daily reports about their situation, amid efforts to enhance monitoring of bird flu, he said.

Guangzhou had culled 134,384 ducks, 18,786 chickens and 150 doves by Tuesday in nine villages within a 3-km radius of the site of the bird-flu outbreak.

Sixty-eight poultry farmers in Panyu who had close contact with ducks killed by bird flu have taken blood tests and medical checkups, and were found to be in good condition.

The district government announced on Tuesday the suspension of all poultry markets within a 13-km surveillance zone.

The last case of H5N1 bird flu reported in China occurred in May in Central China's Hunan Province. It killed more than 11,000 poultry and led to another 52,800 birds being culled.

(Xinhua News Agency September 20, 2007)

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