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Local authorities step up war against bird flu
By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-31 05:15

Local authorities across the nation stepped up the war against avian influenza after three outbreaks and the death of a girl who had pneumonia-like symptoms in a bird flu-hit area this month.

Local authorities step up war against bird flu
A Chinese health worker sprays disinfectant over chickens in cages at a poultry market in Beijing October 30, 2005. [Reuters]

Increased surveillance on migratory birds has become a priority in many areas and local officials are setting up checkpoints to keep questionable poultry away from markets.

In Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, a pigeon race was cancelled for fears that the birds might transmit the virus even though an organizer said homing pigeons could not fly as far as Inner Mongolia, Anhui or Hunan where outbreaks were reported.

In Shanghai, medical staff are being trained to handle an emergency; vaccine research has become a key focus; and emergency materials, such as disinfectant and protective outerwear, are being stockpiled.

In Shenzhen of South China's Guangdong Province, health workers are distributing brochures which explain the differences between regular and bird flu and give tips on hygiene.

The Hong Kong government will conduct a drill next month in case of a flu outbreak. Residential communities, hospitals and even Chief Executive Donald Tsang will participate, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The three bird flu-stricken areas in Central China's Hunan Province, East China's Anhui Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of North China remain closed to outsiders.

Health authorities had confirmed the death of a 12-year-old girl this month in Hunan after she ate a disease-stricken chicken and caught pneumonia.

The Ministry of Health reported the girl's death to the World Health Organization on Friday evening.

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