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Bird flu outbreak confirmed in Turpan
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An outbreak of bird flu occurred in Turpan in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Dec. 29, resulting in 4,850 poultry deaths.

The presence of the H5N1 virus in poultry in the area was confirmed by a state laboratory on Jan. 3, and 29,383 fowls have been culled.

No human case was reported and local authorities said Friday the situation had been brought under control.

Vice Minister of Agriculture Yin Chengjie said in early December that the possibilities of regional bird flu outbreaks were "very high" in the winter and coming spring, and the situation was "not optimistic" as there had been cases of poultry infection in a "relatively large contaminated area".

The Spring Festival in early February is drawing near and more poultry will be transported and slaughtered for festival feasts, which could facilitate transmission of the disease.

Local departments have been ordered to step up immunization measures ahead of the festival, and monitor bird activities along the border and in water areas by increasing sample test numbers and frequencies of examinations.

(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2008)

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