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Migratory Birds Monitored Against Bird Flu

China's Ministry of Agriculture issued an emergency notice on Monday requiring authorities to monitor the habits and habitats of migratory birds to prevent the spread of bird flu.

Wild birds have begun to return to southeast Asia and south China as the weather gets warmer, which significantly increases the risk of spreading avian influenza, said the notice.

A more thorough mechanism of monitoring and examination must be established and more detailed information about migratory birds, including breeds, habitats, and habits, must be gathered, the notice said. It asked medical staff to disinfect the habitats of the migratory birds, collect their excrement and sanitize it.

Poultry raisers were reminded to segregate flocks from wild birds and government departments must promote publicity campaigns in rural areas.

Farmers should vaccinate waterfowl and prevent them from going to water areas inhabited by migrant birds or touching secretions and feathers of the wild birds.

Waterfowl such as ducks and geese should be separated from chickens and birds must be kept far away from livestock, including pigs. The management of zoos, breeding farms and animal fields that have wide open water surfaces should stay vigilant to prevent the entry of migrant birds, the notice said.

It was necessary to guarantee food safety, while the transport and sale of poultry from non-affected areas should remain open, said the notice.

(Xinhua News Agency February 9, 2004)

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