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Public Urged to Keep Vigilant Against Bird Flu

There have been no cases of human-to-human transmission of bird flu in China or in the world, Vice Minister of Health Wang Longde said in Beijing on Friday.

However, Wang warned that bird flu remains a major health risk and that people must be vigilant.

Answering questions from netizens on the Chinese government website, Wang said that knowledge about how to prevent bird flu had not been popularized in some rural areas.

He said people should avoid contact with dead poultry and keep away from poultry slaughter sites.

The ministry requires medical organizations across China to monitor and report suspicious pneumonia cases, and to take quick action to control the spread of the disease if discovered.

The H5N1 bird flu virus is still hard for people to catch, but experts fear it may mutate into a form that spreads easily among people, potentially sparking a pandemic.

The ministry on March 28 confirmed that a 16-year-old boy had died from bird flu in eastern Anhui Province, bringing the number of people in China who have been killed by the virus to 15.

China has reported a total of 24 human cases of bird flu since 2003.

(Xinhua News Agency April 7, 2007)

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