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China creates new warning system for animal-borne diseases

by 5m Editor
14 October 2005, at 12:00am

CHINA - The Chinese government said it has created a new mechanism to warn about outbreaks of animal-borne diseases such as bird flu that might threaten humans.

China creates new warning system for animal-borne diseases - CHINA - The Chinese government said it has created a new mechanism to warn about outbreaks of animal-borne diseases such as bird flu that might threaten humans.

The new mechanism linked the ministries of health and agriculture and was meant to alert the government to disease outbreaks and activate teams of researchers, the official Xinhua News Agency reported late Thursday.

The announcement came after a disease carried by pigs killed at least 39 people in August in China's south-west, and an outbreak of bird flu earlier this year killed thousands of migratory birds.

It said a task force would meet regularly to report on the possible spread of zoonosis, or diseases such as bird flu that could spread from one species to another.

"In case any kind of zoonosis breaks out, the two ministries will jointly ask experts to conduct epidemic research and experimental inspections, as well as giving treatment advice," Xinhua said.

It said the Health Ministry has also set up a flu task force to "monitor the coming flu season and ensure the preparation of vaccines and emergency medical responses by the end of September."

Health authorities were tracking the spread of the virus in birds because it could mutate into a dangerous human pandemic strain.

Although the disease did not easily infect humans, 117 people, mostly those who have had repeated contact with infected poultry, have caught it in Asia over the past two years and 60 have died.

An outbreak of the disease was confirmed this week among poultry in Turkey, raising fears it might spread further.

Source: eFeedLink - 14th October 2005

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