Fri, January 09, 2009
China > Mainland

China says large-scale bird flu epidemic unlikely

2009-01-08 16:56:23 GMT2009-01-09 00:56:23 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) believes China won't have many problems preventing the spread of bird flu despite certain risks.

"Large-scale outbreaks of avian flu won't happen in a certain period but potential dangers still exist in some areas," the MOA said in a statement issued Thursday. It didn't specify on how long that period could be.

Risks for bird flu epidemic include cold weather as the disease spreads more easily as birds migrate, the MOA said..

Another problem is frequent outbreaks in neighboring countries such as Vietnam and India. More than 22,000 chickens and ducks were culled in December when bird flu-hit West Bengal.

The MOA noted other threats came from brisk poultry trade ahead of the Spring Festival and difficulty ensuring prevention measures were being used at loosely managed household farms.

The MOA is now requiring local veterinary departments to check major poultry markets every week and disinfect markets thoroughly.

The MOA said on Wednesday, experts had checked farms and poultry markets in Beijing and in the neighboring Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province. No signs of bird flu were found.

Poultry and egg prices in Beijing were stable on Thursday, data from a Xinhua farm food price monitoring system showed. Eggs were sold at 3.58 yuan (53 U.S. cents) per jin (half a kilogram) and processed chicken at 7.56 yuan per jin.

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