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New Bird Flu Measures

According to reports yesterday and on Friday, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong are taking measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza, cases of which have been reported amongst birds in Europe and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Officials in Beijing have begun checking chickens, ducks, geese and carrier pigeons to make sure they are properly vaccinated or isolated, Beijing Youth Daily reported yesterday.

So far, around 98 percent of poultry raised on Beijing's farms has been vaccinated. Officials hope to increase that to 100 percent in the coming days, the report quoted city agricultural officials as saying.

Poultry markets, slaughterhouses and zoos will also be monitored, and special attention will be paid to farms near sanctuaries for migratory birds, which are believed to have brought bird flu to several countries.

In Beijing, security was to be stepped up at airports, bus and train stations and at border crossings to prevent birds from infected areas reaching the capital, said the report.

Municipal officials were also taking steps to ensure there is an adequate stockpile of vaccines and disinfectants.

According to Xinhua News Agency on Friday, east China's Shanghai is sterilizing the soles of all passengers entering the port by sea, land and air.

The municipal quarantine authorities have destroyed and banned imports of poultry products from bird flu-stricken areas, according to the city's Exit-Entry Inspection and Quarantine Bureau's website on October 17.

Spot checks on non-poultry imports to Shanghai have been intensified. Poultry and other animal products from unaffected areas are now also under strict scrutiny.

Southern China's Guangdong Province said it would set up a surveillance system to detect animal diseases quickly and prevent the spread to humans, Beijing Youth Daily said in a separate October 23 report.

The moves came after the Ministry of Health warned last week that a "danger of the fatal disease spreading to human beings exists."

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency October 24, 2005)

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