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High Vigilance against Bird Flu Urged

Health Ministry has issued an urgent notice, requesting local health authorities be highly vigilant against the spread of bird flu.


"Health authorities at all levels should enhance monitoring and prevention measures against bird flu and watch closely the epidemic situation in neighboring countries and regions," said the ministry in the notice publicized on its official website on Thursday.


As humans can also be infected with bird flu, the ministry asked local health departments to tighten surveillance for the flu and enhance epidemiological investigation and sample testing of respiratory diseases.


"Local disease prevention and control agencies should report mutated or unknown viral strains to the China Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and provincial health authorities, which should in turn report to the Health Ministry," said the ministry.


As Vietnam is currently battling to contain an outbreak of bird flu and Japan as well as the Republic of Korea are dealing with the outbreaks of the disease, the ministry requested health authorities in the provinces close to those countries tighten cooperation with quarantine agencies to prevent the disease being transmitted from overseas.


In addition, China on Thursday announced an import ban on live poultry and related products such as eggs and feathers from Vietnam, Japan, the Republic of Korea and other affected countries, according to Thursday's Beijing Youth Daily.


Poultry from the affected regions will be prevented from entering China through mail or by being brought in by tourists. Birds which have arrived in China from the affected regions will be sent back or slaughtered.


(Xinhua News Agency January 16, 2004)


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