Mainland on Guard Against Outbreak of Bird Flu

China has ordered that all authorities in charge of quarantine, animal epidemic prevention and foreign trade and economic cooperation must keep an eye out for bird flu after an outbreak in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

Vehicles from Hong Kong and Macao must be disinfected, according to a circular issued by the State General Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation.

In a bid to prevent the H5N1 bird flu from mixing with other viruses, the Hong Kong government has ordered all of its 1.2 million chickens and other poultry to be slaughtered after the strain apparently caused the death of hundreds of chickens last week.

In addition to a massive operation to disinfect markets, Hong Kong has also decided to stop importing live poultry from the mainland for the time being.

However, sources with the AQSIQ indicate that China has not detected any case of the H5N1 virus.

China has taken the prevention of bird flu seriously over the past few years, especially since 1997 when six people were killed in an outbreak in Hong Kong. An efficient epidemic-monitoring and prevention network and an emergency mechanism has been established on the mainland.

Officials at the Exit-Entry Inspection and Quarantine Bureau of Shenzhen, an important channel of live poultry for the Hong Kong market, have denied that the virus originated on the mainland, saying that all the 1.3 million live poultry exported to Hong Kong this year met related standards.

Around 27 million chickens and other live poultry are shipped from Shenzhen to Hong Kong every year. The creatures have to go through a five-step checking process before being sent to Hong Kong.

According to the AQSIQ, the H5N1 bird flu found this year does not threaten people. During the 1997 outbreak, all of Hong Kong’s 1.4 million poultry were slaughtered.

(China Daily 05/22/2001)

In This Series

Chickens Slaughtered to Stop Bird Flu Outbreak

Imports of Suspect Animal Products Banned

Steps Taken to Bar Animal Diseases



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