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China confident of curbing bird flu: official
( 2004-02-05 11:42) (Xinhua)

Chinese Vice-Minister of Agriculture Liu Jian said in Beijing on Thursday that the Chinese government is confident in containing the outbreak of bird flu in the country.

Liu said at a press conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture that China had established complete networks for disease control and animal monitoring, comprising 300 monitoring stations directly under the control of the ministry and 147 disease surveillance points on its borders.

National reference and animal disease diagnostic laboratories have been established at provincial and ministerial levels, and emergency plans and technical standards have been developed for controlling animal diseases.

With the help of professionals in disease control and public efforts, and based on the experience gained from the fight against SARS last year, government departments would together win the battle against avian influenza, Liu said.

The government had urged authorities around the country to continue strengthening their efforts to fight the disease.

Decisive measures would be taken to quarantine the infected areas, while the culling and safe disposal of all poultry at infected sites and in surrounding areas within a 3-kilometer radius would be carried out, along with compulsory vaccination of poultry in areas within 5 kilometers.

Liu said preventive and control measures would be taken in non-infected areas, putting the principle focus of prevention and control on areas surrounding infected sites, key production regions, key breeding farms, large-scale poultry farms, specialized large poultry-farming households, large transportation households, and large processing households.

Liu also called for rigorous medical monitoring and prevention of bird-to-human transmission, the prevention and control of the avian influenza through enhanced scientific research and public education campaigns.

He said efforts should be made to intensify disease surveillance. Starting from Feb. 5, the Ministry of Agriculture would launch the new release system to inform the public of the epidemic situation and provide other relevant information.

China would improve the compensation policy for culls and compulsory immunization and facilitate access to resources such as funds, vaccines, medicines, equipment and other materials as well as technical measures, Liu said.

In line with the urgent circulation by the State Council, the heads of local governments would be entirely responsible and liable while following strictly the regulations and they would be held responsible for neglect of their duties.

The national bird flu prevention headquarters would dispatch five inspection groups to 10 provinces shortly to carry out checks and monitoring work, Liu said.

He said China has reported and diagnosed all its bird flu cases in line with its epidemic prevention law and a series of technical standards.

In response to a question whether any party was trying to coverup outbreak of the disease in China, Liu said China had reported its first bird flu case to the public on Jan. 27, the very day it was discovered in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Liu said China had also reported the case in time to the China offices of World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

All these were conducted in line with China's Law on Animal Epidemic Prevention and regulations of the Ministry of Agriculture,he said.

Government administrations in all Chinese localities had been requested to report all bird flu cases timely and in line with thelaw, and diagnose the disease in accordance with a set of comprehensive technical standards, said Liu.

Some 56,417 chickens, ducks and geese had been infected with bird flu and 49,236 died by Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

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