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South China Holds Exercise on Bird Flu Outbreak

Guangdong Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, both in south China, on Tuesday launched a joint bird flu outbreak drill, days of a father and a son were confirmed to have contracted the H5N1 virus.

The exercise, under the direction of the Ministry of Health, focused on the emergency response by the province and the region and the communication and cooperation between them.

According to the exercise scenario, two people from the same family were found infected with bird flu in Zhaoqing city, Guangdong, and they had close ties with family members in Hezhou, Guangxi.

Medical personnel took precautions against transmission and sent samples for analysis, and then investigated how the outbreak occurred and ascertained possible sources of the disease.

They identified the people who had contact with the two and closely monitored them, sterilized places where they had stayed, and alerted local people against the outbreak.

The exercise showed Guangdong and Guangxi had effective communication and cooperation in case of bird flu outbreak, said Wu Yueqi, an official with the Guangdong provincial department of health.

Guangdong and Guangxi held the drill because they shared a long border, which was crossed by large numbers of people each day, Wu said.

The Ministry of Health confirmed on December 7 that the father of a 24-year-old Chinese man who died of H5N1 infection on December 2 had also been infected with the H5N1 virus that causes the disease.

The 52-year-old man, surnamed Lu, was a native of Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu. He developed a fever and was hospitalized for lower lobe pneumonia on December 3, according to the ministry.

(China Daily December 12, 2007)

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