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Thursday, September 1, 2011

China : Keeping bird flu at bay a tough challenge

Via China Daily, excerpt :

" BEIJING : China faces a tough challenge if it wants to curb a regional outbreak of bird flu in the coming autumn and winter, said the nation's top veterinarian Yu Kangzhen on Wednesday.

The chance for a large-scale outbreak, however, remains quite slim, he said.

Yu made the remarks following a warning from the United Nations of a possible return of the deadly avian influenza epidemic, as a mutation of the H5N1 strain that can apparently sidestep defenses of existing vaccines was spreading in China and Vietnam.

"Since February 2009, China has reported zero bird flu outbreaks and the agriculture and health authorities are constantly on high alert of potential bird flu epidemics among poultry and humans," he told China Daily in a written statement.

But the virus has been detected sporadically among wild birds and in certain areas among farmed poultry, he admitted. "Also, mutations of the virus have been detected in the poultry."

In response, the Ministry of Agriculture ordered further heightened surveillance of the potentially deadly virus and made plans in the event of outbreaks, he said."

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