China has intensified monitoring and prevention efforts in response to bird flu outbreaks in the Southeast Asian nations of Vietnam and Malaysia, a senior veterinary official said yesterday.
Malaysia yesterday detected the H5N1 bird flu virus in chickens in a village near the capital Kuala Lumpur and has begun culling poultry nearby as a protective move.
There have been no reported cases of the infection, but it was the first time avian influenza had been found in the country since March last year when several chickens tested positive for the virus.
Fourteen of Vietnam's 64 provinces have been hit by bird flu recently. Since the disease surfaced in the country in December 2003, 95 human cases of bird flu infections have been reported, including 42 fatalities.
"China is paying close attention to the developments in neighboring countries," Jia Youling, director of the veterinary bureau of the Ministry of Agriculture, told China Daily.
The Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which shares a 637-km land border with Vietnam, is vaccinating all its poultry, and no live fowl or related products are being allowed in.
The autonomous region has also shut down 89 poultry markets along the border, and is regularly disinfecting nearby areas.
China has reported three bird flu cases so far this year, compared to 10 last year, and 31 in 2005. "The situation is so far stable as a whole," Jia said.
The country has developed five bird flu vaccines, "contributing significantly to the bird flu prevention and control worldwide".
In addition to cooperating with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization, the ministry has offered technical and financial aid to such countries as Vietnam, Indonesia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Mongolia, he said.
Last week, 60 million bird flu vaccine shots were delivered to Vietnam, bringing the total amount to 900 million since 2005.
China has also dispatched four groups of specialists to Vietnam in the past two years, and invited Vietnamese officials and technicians to visit veterinary labs and production enterprises.
Last week, the government donated goods worth $900,000 to Indonesia to control bird flu.
In accordance with a memorandum of understanding between the two countries, China will provide an additional $2.6 million to Indonesia to help with its fight against bird flu.
(China Daily 06/07/2007 page3)