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Bird flu outbreak a potential disaster
Updated: 2005-11-09 15:10

A senior China government official has warned a bird flu outbreak in its northeastern Liaoning Province had not yet been controlled and could escalate into a disaster.
Bird flu outbreak a potential disaster
Veterinarians carry out compulsory vaccination to chickens in Taian County, northeastern Laoning Province as bird flu epidemic in nearby Heishan County "is still serious", November 6, 2005. [newsphoto] 
"In Heishan county, Liaoning Province, the epidemic is still serious," the Agriculture Minister Du Qingling told the China News Service, two weeks after poultry started dying from the bird flu there. "Efforts to wipe out the disease have been very difficult and the prevention work is arduous."

Premier Wen Jiabao has called on the nation to intensify efforts to fight bird flu when the country is facing a "very serious situation" in controlling the epidemic.

Bird flu has not been totally controlled in China and the danger of spread still exists in some regions, the premier said during an inspection tour of the bird flu-hit Heishan County in northeast China's Liaoning Province on Tuesday.

He urged the local governments to pay high attention to the epidemic situation and focus on preventing the disease from jumping to human, which he described as "an arduous task."

More than 6 million chickens, ducks and geese have been culled in the province since the outbreak, which was officially reported to the World Health Organization on November 3.

Du slammed producers of low-quality vaccines that were being sold in Liaoning, saying such products could ruin government efforts to eradicate the H5N1 bird flu virus.

"The use of fake and shoddy vaccines will result in a disaster," Du said.

"If the vaccines are not up to standard, then immunization to the virus will not be uniform or effective. This could bring huge losses."

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