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Migratory birds come under microscope
By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-11-11 05:47

Of the roughly 700 species of migratory birds which pass through China, 200 are endangered, said Zhang Zhengwang, professor of zoology at Beijing Normal University.

For instance, about 90 per cent of the 3,000 oriental white storks in the world come to China.

The China Wildlife Conservation Association yesterday also called on the public to protect migratory birds and immediately report on sick or dead birds to the local health authorities.

In Geneva, health and veterinary officials from around the globe ended a three-day meeting late on Wednesday and announced a US$1-billion, three-year strategy aimed at rooting out bird flu among poultry and stopping it from spawning a pandemic, Reuters reports.

World Health Organization chief Lee Jong-Wook said the strategy aimed to boost early warning systems, strengthen veterinary services, make it easier for rich and poor nations alike to get antiviral drugs and step up research into pandemic vaccines.

The H5N1 virus is endemic in poultry across Asia, where it is known to have infected 124 people and killed 64.

Kuwait has detected two cases of bird flu in birds, a senior official said yesterday.

It is the first known case of the disease in the Middle East.

Experts fear H5N1 could mutate into a form that passes easily among people, just like human influenza. If it does, millions could die because they would have no immunity.

(China Daily 11/11/2005 page1)

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