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Bird-flu outbreak brought under 'effective control'
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Local authorities are keeping a close eye on the bird-flu situation in the Panyu district of this south China city.

"The 68 people who came into close contact with the ducks killed by bird flu are receiving two medical checkups a day and all of them are said to be in good shape," a district government official surnamed Zhong, said.

"The local health authority has initiated its emergency plan to deal with any human cases in the village of Sixian, where the virus broke out, and three other villages nearby," he said.

Anyone with a temperature above 38 C must report immediately to the district disease prevention and control center, Zhong said. And those who were involved in burying the infected ducks must also undergo checkups twice a day.

"The incident is under effective control. I don't think it has affected the local people too much," the official said.

Xiang Qizhao, a duck farmer from Panyu, said: "The price of live ducks has dipped a little bit in the past couple of days, but I'm confident it will soon get back to normal thanks to the local government's immediate and effective measures to deal with the epidemic outbreak."

Officials in Guangzhou said both the supply of poultry - about 480,000 birds per day - and the price were about normal.

Guangzhou is home to about 21.5 million chickens, 7.5 million ducks, 1.4 million geese, 5.6 million pigeons and various other kinds of poultry.

The bird-flu outbreak was reported early this month after more than 9,000 ducks died within days of each other. The National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory later confirmed the virus was a sub-type of the H5N1 strain.

The local government responded by immunizing all poultry and sterilizing all farms in the district.

(China Daily September 21, 2007)

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