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Fujian on Alert After Human Case of Bird Flu

Southeast China's Fujian Province has taken a series of measures to prevent an outbreak of bird flu after it confirmed a human case of the disease in the province, an official with the provincial government said Thursday.

Senior officials of the province held a special meeting to adopt measures preventing an outbreak of the epidemic, said the official, who declined to give his name.

Zhang Changpin, vice governor of the Fujian Province, has ordered compulsory inoculation on all fowls, and required local authorities to set up inoculation files and issue certificates to inoculated animals.

Zhang required the health, stock-raising and forestry authorities at all levels to be on high alert and closely monitor it.

He also asked local workers to quarantine and check the animals at every stage when they leave farm, enter slaughter houses and are put in the market. Those who failed should be punished accordingly.

According to the provincial health department, a 44-year-old farmer surnamed Li in Jian'ou City in the province developed symptoms of fever, coughing and expectoration on Feb. 18.

Tests by the provincial disease control and prevention center showed that the patient has been infected with bird flu virus strain H5N1. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the test result on Feb. 27.

The patient is now receiving treatment at local hospital and is in severe condition. She was confirmed to have made contact with dead fowls.

Local health authorities said they are closely monitoring those who had had close contact with the patient. So far, they showed no symptoms of the disease.

Li is the country's first human case of bird flu in about seven weeks since China reported on Jan. 10 that a 37-year-old farmer in east China's Anhui Province had contracted bird flu but had recovered.

The virus has killed 14 people in China since 2003.

According to Fujian health authorities, China's Health Ministry has conveyed the information to WHO, health agencies in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and some other countries.

(Xinhua News Agency March 1, 2007)

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