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Bird Flu Prevention a Long-term Task: Ministry

A senior Chinese official in charge of bird flu control said the situation in bird flu prevention and control is still grave, though the country lifted cordons in all the infected areas on Tuesday.

Outlining major problems in bird flu control in a press conference, Jia Youling, spokesman in charge of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) control under the Ministry of Agriculture, said there are still water fowls that carry the virus.

Secondly, when the weather is warming up in most parts of the north, migratory birds will fly northwards on a large scale, which may result in the spread of the pathogen, he added.

Thirdly, there will be more chances for the trans-regional spread of the disease as there will be more long distance transportation of poultry and substantial replenishment of birds in the poultry production.

Fourth, the disease still exists in some countries or regions surrounding China, hence the risk of the disease spreading into China.

Finally, the tremendous difficulty encountered in the disease prevention and control has not been overcome at the root since the poultry production of China is a large, wide-spreading industry, and many places suffer from very poor conditions for disease control.

Therefore, the possibility of HPAI coming again is great, and no effort should be spared in its prevention and control, Jia stressed.

In light of the current situation, the Ministry of Agriculture calls on the competent animal husbandry and veterinary authorities to follow up with the plans of the National HPAI Prevention and Control Headquarters and sum up the experience they have obtained in past few weeks so as to further intensify the work of combating the epidemic.

Local agencies must keep vigilance and avoid lax in mind, action and leadership so as to keep their functions running smoothly, measures in place and quick response capacity ready once the epidemic occurs again, Jia said.

China will build an effective and long-term epizootic prevention mechanism in order to enhance the overall control capacity across the country, he concluded.

(Xinhua News Agency March 17, 2004)


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