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Minister Warns of Epidemic Outbreak
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"The outbreaks hit 32 counties in 13 provinces, but all of them were effectively controlled," Du said.

"In view of the current situation, the possibility of a massive bird flu outbreak cannot be ruled out," he added.

Du said his ministry would stick to consistent epidemic monitoring, diagnosis and reporting, and strengthen poultry vaccination and virus testing.

Health authorities yesterday urged the public to be cautious and stay away from sick or dead fowls.

Mao Qun'an, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said the outbreak of avian flu among a small number of chickens on domestic farms could be hard to monitor and that people could unwittingly be infected by contract.

Mao also said that women and children should be especially careful as they seem more vulnerable to the virus because of their weaker immunity.

(China Daily February 27, 2006)

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