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New Bird Flu Outbreak in North China

Sources with the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing Monday reported a new bird flu outbreak in north China's Shanxi Province. The case was identified after chickens died in poultry farms in Changzi County of Changzhi City.


Samples of the dead poultry were sent to the national bird flu laboratory where the H5N1 virus was identified, said the ministry.


The local government has launched an emergency response and quarantined the infected area. Experts and veterinarians have started disinfection and culling poultry in the region to prevent further outbreaks.


The local veterinarian department has stepped up publicity campaigns to ensure residents know how to protect themselves against the virus.


The Ministry of Agriculture has also sent a team of experts to Changzi and reported the case to international organizations.


China has recorded more than 30 outbreaks of bird flu since last October. The last outbreak occurred in remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region early this month and the government said it had been contained two days after the confirmation.


A human case of bird flu was confirmed on June 15 in south China's Guangdong Province bringing the number of people infected to 19.


China's chief veterinary officer Jia Youling warned last week that the virus was on the rise among migratory birds this year.


A total of 1,168 of these birds have been found dead in Qinghai and Tibet up to June 1. The disease was affecting more species of birds than last year, Jia said. He noted the Ministry of Agriculture would target migration routes for future supervision especially in areas with a record of infection.


(Xinhua News Agency June 20, 2006)


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