The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture announced on Monday new measures to guard against a possible outbreak of bird flu this spring, a time when the bird flu virus is at its most active and contagious.
The ministry called for the compulsory immunization of all domestic poultry to begin before March 15 and to be finished before May.
Local veterinary departments have been ordered to ensure poultry raisers keep immunization records.
The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for arranging the production and distribution of bird flu vaccines.
The ministry will also send experts to help monitor the breeding of poultry and waterfowl, and intensify monitoring of live poultry markets, border areas and regions where bird flu outbreaks were reported in the past.
China reported 10 outbreaks of bird flu last year. About 47,000 poultry birds died in outbreaks in seven provinces on the Chinese mainland, with another 2.94 million fowls culled, according to figures published by the Ministry of Agriculture last November.
The virus has infected 23 Chinese people since 2003 and killed 14. The latest human case was a 44-year-old farmer in east China's Fujian Province, who was confirmed to be infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu last week and is still receiving medical treatment in a local hospital.
Fifty-four countries and regions in Asia, Europe and Africa reported outbreaks of bird flu last year.
(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2007)