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China drafts plan to fight bird flu
Updated: 2005-10-01 14:37

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has drafted a contingency plan to cope with a much-feared outbreak of bird flu in the coming winter, state media reported, only two days after it announced a blueprint for fighting a human influenza pandemic. Reuters reported.

Bird flu, including the deadly H5N1 strain that has killed 65 people in Asia, is believed to be endemic in the country's poultry population.

The Ministry of Agriculture has issued "clear regulations" on bird flu monitoring, warning, reporting and emergency responses for the coming autumn and winter, Xinhua news agency said in a report late on Friday.

The regulations include obligations for a series of departments in case of an epidemic and a system of four colour-coded alert levels, the report said without giving details.

An unnamed official at the Agriculture Ministry was quoted as saying China faced a "grave" situation in preventing and controlling bird flu.

"The ways of raising poultry in parts of China are relatively backward and there is frequent circulation and shipment of livestock between regions. There are some weak points in our work. Our task is quite arduous," he was quoted as saying.

The plan called for strengthening surveillance in border areas, poultry cultivating strongholds, migration routes of migratory birds and river networks in south China -- widely seen as the flu's hotbed with people living in close proximity to livestock.

China neighbours Vietnam, where the H5N1 strain has killed 37 people, and hosts sections of three global migration routes for migratory birds. It also has the second largest domestic poultry industry in the world.

China has in past successfully controlled outbreaks of bird flu with a combination of vaccinations, culling and surveillance.

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