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New outbreaks reported, 'situation serious'
By Wang Zhenghua and Wang Xu (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-10 05:48

China is the world's largest producer of poultry, and local governments should be fully aware of the great danger posed by the epidemic, Wen said.

He urged areas with a large number of poultry or close to the bird flu-hit regions to draft emergency plans for possible outbreaks.

In Heishan, more than 10 million poultry were culled since the outbreak in late October.

Health authorities fear that as H5N1 virus spreads, it is more likely to mutate, making it contagious among humans. Bird flu has killed at least 64 people in Southeast Asia since 2003.

Wen inspected medical stations and poultry disposal sites, and met poultry farmers and medical workers in Heishan.

Villager Jiang Lianfu told the premier that all his 13,000 chickens were slaughtered even though they were not affected. He got 10 yuan (US$1.23) in compensation for each bird. Wen thanked him for co-operating with the government, and said that compensation should be paid in time.

Local authorities in other parts of the country have been stepping up efforts to halt the spread of the disease.

In Shanghai, the government has told farmers to set up nets around poultry farms to prevent possible infection from migratory birds, Xinhua reported.

In addition, all poultry should be bred in enclosures.

Such measures are necessary as Shanghai and Heishan are on the same bird-migration route, according to Zhang Suhua, an expert with the Shanghai Agricultural Commission.

In East China's Zhejiang Province, wildlife workers have stepped up monitoring of migratory birds.

Major habitats of migrant birds are now under 24-hour observation, said Yu, a senior official at Zhejiang Wildlife and Plant Protection Office.

In Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, zoo workers have stopped feeding beasts with live poultry to prevent possible spread of bird flu, officials at Harbin Northern Forestry Zoo said yesterday.

They have ordered more beef and mutton instead.

Zou Ximing, deputy director of the zoo, said they were keeping a vigilant eye on the birds in the zoo, now considered a "highly dangerous group." All 3,000 birds of 100 species have been vaccinated, he said.

At the province's Zhalong Nature Reserve, health workers have vaccinated all the 100 red-crown cranes there.

The Wildlife Park Beijing has also halted feeding tigers and lions with live chickens since October.

(China Daily 11/10/2005 page1)

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