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WHO, UN Experts Inspect Guangdong's Animal Farms

A team of 14 overseas and domestic experts inspected exotic animal breeding farms in Guangdong Province during the past two days.

The experts from China's Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, were on a tour to study the possible links between the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus and animals in the south China province where SARS first broke out.

The inspection was aimed at clearly mapping the province's biological environment, the living environment of animals, especially wild animals under domestic breeding, and their contacts with human beings, according to team member Guan Yi, a microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong.

On Saturday, the team visited one of the largest civet cat farms in Guangdong and inspected the breeding and quarantine facilities in the farm.

On Sunday, the experts went to a pig farm and a farm involved in exotic animals such as peacocks. At the breeding bases, they asked in detail about the procedure of feeding and the disinfection and quarantine measures.

They later exchanged views with more than 10 professors from the South China University of Agriculture on the possible source of the SARS virus.

In another two days, the team will go back to Beijing to hold meetings with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture on the data and information they obtained in Guangdong.

They will then submit a report to the WHO before Aug. 29, according to Guan.

(Xinhua News Agency August 17, 2003)

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A SARS Photo Diary -- April to July 2003
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