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China Enhances Cooperation with Int'l Organizations to Control Bird Flu

China informed the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization (WHO) of its bird flu epidemic on Tuesday, the day the deadly virus was confirmed to have been found in the country.


On Tuesday, the national bird flu reference laboratory confirmed that the death of ducks in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was caused by the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.


Soon afterwards, China's Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health held emergency meetings with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization's officer-in-charge in China Robert Brown and WHO's representative in China Henk Bekedam, respectively, notifying them of the latest developments of the epidemic in the country and the measures that had been taken.


After listening to the agriculture ministry's report on the epidemic and the measures the Chinese government had taken in accordance with the country's Law on Animal Epidemic Prevention, Brown thanked the ministry for the timely reporting of the disease and nodded to the measures, expressing confidence in China's capability in preventing the epidemic from further spreading.


He said the UN Food and Agricultural Organization gave high attention to the development of bird flu in Asia, including China, and stands ready to give China its full support.


After listening to the health ministry's report, Bekedam said China's timely notification demonstrates the Chinese government's openness and transparency in treating the epidemic.


He said China's fight against the severe acute respiratory syndrome last year has left the international community with a deep impression, and he believed the Chinese government would do even better now in dealing with the bird flu.


Although the disease has not spread to humans, Bekedam said efforts should be enhanced in containing its transmission from poultry to humans. He pledged the willingness of the WHO to help China in preventing and treating the disease and to further step up the two sides' cooperation.


The ministries of agriculture and health thanked the two international organizations for their support to the Chinese government, and expressed hopes to further strengthen exchanges and cooperation with relevant international organizations in preventing and treating the bird flu.


(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2004)

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