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China Issues Emergency Bird Flu Control Order
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China's Ministry of Agriculture issued an emergency order Monday for local governments to tighten controls over poultry stocks to prevent bird flu contamination by migratory birds.


The order calls for strict supervision of areas below all possible flight paths of migratory birds, lakes and other sites with a record of bird flu infection.


Farmers living in these areas are advised to keep their poultry in coops to avoid contact with the migratory birds.


The ministry also ordered immediate reporting of any dead poultry or wild birds to county-level animal epidemic prevention agencies, and suspected cases must be reported to the state-level bird flu laboratories.


A new case of H5N1 bird flu was discovered in Xinjiang's Hotan County last Wednesday, but it had been contained by Friday, said a source with the Ministry of Agriculture.


Experts and veterinarians had disinfected the area and more than 17,100 poultry birds were culled to prevent further contamination. No new suspected cases had been discovered near the infected area, said the ministry.


Hotan County is on a flight path for migratory birds between East Africa and West Asia, said the ministry source.


The virus in Hotan County was similar to that found in migratory birds in western part of Qinghai and Tibet earlier this year, indicating it may have come from the same source.


Xinjiang was taking measures to prevent the spread of the virus through migratory birds.


Agriculture Minister Du Qinglin told a ministerial conference on bird flu last week that prevention would be a long-term task and local governments should remain alert.


More effective measures would be taken to stop its spread from migratory birds to poultry, with some large bird habitats to be closed, said Du.


The government would reform its veterinary management system, said Du, adding more favorable policies would be implemented to help farmers who suffered losses from bird flu.


More than 80 cases of the virus have been reported in China since February 2004, affecting 24 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions. Eighteen confirmed human cases with 12 fatalities have been reported since September.


(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2006)

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