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Daily Reporting System to Monitor Bird Flu

China's Ministry of Agriculture issued emergency directives Monday requiring veterinary and quarantine units at grassroots to report bird flu situation to higher departments every day.

It was the second emergency notice from the ministry following the outbreak of bird flu in Vietnam, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Japan.

The notice asked local governments step up the quarantine of poultry and the monitoring of the H5N1 strain of potentially lethal bird flu.

"If cases of bird flu are spotted, all poultry within three kilometers of the site will have to be slaughtered and all poultry within five kilometers of the polluted region will have to be vaccinated immediately," said the notice.

The notice also asked local governments to set up emergency teams and store materials for emergency use.

"Everything should be taken care of to ensure immediate and effective actions are taken to eradicate the virus if cases of bird flu are found," said the notice.

The notice also required veterinary and quarantine units at local levels to coordinate with other departments involving health, transport, and industrial and commercial sectors in daily supervision. An around-the-clock monitoring mechanism will be adopted during the coming seven-day holiday of Spring Festival.

The Chinese mainland has so far reported no cases of the disease. The Ministry of Agriculture and State Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine have jointly issued a ban on importing live poultry and products from the regions hit by the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed the fifth case of human death connected with the H5N1 virus in Vietnam.

The deadly virus -- highly contagious among chickens -- is believed to spread to humans through contact with infected birds, but there have been no reports of the disease spreading from person to person. China has listed the virus near the top of prevention work list. 

(Xinhua News Agency January 20, 2004)

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