Published Date: 2004-01-31 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian influenza - Eastern Asia (16)
Archive Number: 20040131.0380
AVIAN INFLUENZA - EASTERN ASIA (16)
A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases
In this update:
Date: 31 Jan 2004
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Bangkok Post, 31 Jan 2004 [edited]
Fresh outbreak in the South: all regions affected as virus hits Phangnga
The outbreak of avian influenza officially went nationwide yesterday as
authorities quarantined an area of the South, the only region previously
thought to be unaffected by the virus.
Tambon Bang Nai Si, in Takua Pa district of Phangnga province, was placed
under quarantine after bird flu was detected in chickens in Ban Tha
Jud. About 28 000 chickens were culled, with plans to exterminate a
further 100 000 in a bid to prevent the disease from spreading throughout
Phangnga farmer Saneh Klad-in said he believed his chickens had been
infected by migratory birds that were inhabiting a swamp near his property.
Provincial health authorities said there had been no suspected human
infections reported in the province.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the number of quarantine
zones around the country currently stood at 125, which were located in a
total of 29 provinces. Mr Somkid stressed Ratchaburi, Ang Thong, and Surin
provinces each had only 2 infected tambons, while Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Nong
Khai, Si Sa Ket, Lampang, and Lamphun provinces each had only one.
Quarantines had been lifted in Suphan Buri, Kanchanaburi and Nakhon Pathom
"We now consider the outbreak to be under control," Mr Somkid said. "It is
no longer a serious threat".
Agriculture Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said he was confident half the
remaining quarantines would be lifted tomorrow. "This is because the
government is successfully containing the outbreak," he said.
About 10 million head of poultry had been slaughtered in the upper half of
the country alone since the outbreak was confirmed. However, Prime
Minister Thaksin Shinawatra declined to confirm if all poultry in areas of
Bangkok that had been placed under quarantine would be culled. Mr Thaksin
said the owners of fighting cocks who refused to have their birds
slaughtered could negotiate with the Livestock Development Department on a
case-by-case basis. "Some things cannot be subject to international rules,"
Mr Somkid urged owners of fighting cocks and exotic birds to register their
pets with the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department
within 3 days. Unregistered birds would be killed immediately if found to
have contracted avian flu, he said.
Mr Thaksin also dismissed reports the Public Health Ministry had advised
schools to remove chicken and eggs from their lunch menus. Schools were
simply told to ensure all chicken and eggs served to students were
well-cooked, he said.
Mr Thaksin also announced the government would provide long-term loans to
help farmers affected by the outbreak to switch from free-range to closed
farms. The government would also compensate the farmers and replace culled
chickens, as well as provide assistance in finding new employment during
the lull in business, he said.
[Byline: Ampa Santimatanedol & Narong Cheun-niran]
[The referenced article includes an useful map of the affected areas in
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004
From: ProMED-mail <email@example.com>
Source: Reuters UK, 31 Jan 2004 [edited]
China's chance to stop bird flu narrowing
China's window of opportunity to stop the spread of bird flu is narrowing,
the World Health Organisation (WHO) says, while the country steps up checks
on poultry nationwide for signs of the deadly virus.
That window closed a bit more on Sat 31 Jan 2004, when China announced 2
new areas suspected of having cases of bird flu -- one in the central
province of Hubei and one in the southern province of Guangdong. China
confirmed outbreaks in the provinces of Hubei and Hunan to be the lethal
H5N1 strain of avian influenza on Friday, and announced 4 new areas of
suspected infection: 2 in Anhui province, 1 in Guangdong, and 1 in the
city of Shanghai.
"We have repeatedly said there is a brief window of opportunity to act
within China. This latest news strongly suggests that the window is getting
smaller with each passing day," said WHO disease surveillance specialist
Earlier this week, China confirmed an outbreak in the southern region of
Guangxi bordering Viet Nam. Bird flu has spread rapidly to 10 Asian
countries, killing at least 8 people in Thailand and Viet Nam.
Chinese authorities have been culling poultry within 3 km (2 miles) of
infected farms, vaccinating birds within 5 km (3 miles), and established
national command headquarters, headed by Vice Premier Hui Liangyu, to
battle the disease.
On Saturday China also halted exports from Anhui, Guangdong, and Shanghai,
following bans on shipments abroad from the other infected areas.
On the outskirts of China's financial hub, Shanghai, teams of inspectors
descended on villages and markets without warning on Friday, residents
said, seizing tens of thousands of fowl, spraying disinfectant, and burning
piles of bird dung.
At least 20 000 chickens had been culled in a single day at the Sanguantang
Fowl and Egg Market, Shanghai's largest wholesale poultry trading station
in an outlying northeastern district of the densely populated city of 16
million, workers told Reuters.
"If bird flu is really upon us, our business will take a big hit," said a
worried worker who would only give his surname Qin, as he stuffed a chicken
-- bare-handed -- into a grimy coop. "I'm not afraid for my health," he added.
At one village in the southern district of Nanhui, focus of Shanghai's
suspected bird flu outbreak, residents complained of heavy-handed health
officials who grabbed chickens without mention of compensation. "All our
chickens were fine. There was nothing wrong with them. Look at me, do I
look sick to you?" protested farmer Lao Gu. "We've lost tens of thousands
The WHO was concerned about the environmental impact of the bird culls and
urged that people involved "take suitable safety precautions" to help
prevent the possibility of human infection. There have been no cases of
people catching bird flu in China.
The WHO also requested more information on China's use of vaccines to fight
the flu, concerned they could mask infections. "In such cases, the birds
might not die, but could get sick, shed the virus and eventually infect
other birds in the flock," [a WHO spokesperson] said.
Controlling outbreaks in China, [which before the Avian influenza outbreak
was] expected to produce some 10.1 million tonnes of poultry in 2004, is
worrisome to health experts because nearly 4 out of 5 chickens, ducks and
other fowl are raised on household farms, where peasants live in close
proximity with their animals.
In response to the bird flu, the Commerce Ministry issued an urgent notice
calling on all areas to strengthen management of the poultry trade to help
stop the disease's spread.
[Byline: John Ruwitch]
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004
From: ProMED-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Source: Xinhuanet via China View, 31 Jan 2004 [edited]
China in nationwide campaign against bird flu
As previously suspected bird flu cases in 2 central provinces were
confirmed and new suspected cases reported in 3 other Chinese regions Fri,
30 Jan 2004, an increasing number of Chinese localities are taking measures
to handle the deadly disease.
As of early Saturday morning 31 Jan 2004, 1 306 500 poultry within 3
kilometers of the confirmed bird flu-hit area in Wugang City of central
China's Hunan Province have been killed, and no new suspected or confirmed
cases have been reported in the affected region.
Local quarantine departments also destroyed 22 000 eggs and sealed up 12.1
tons of eggs. The above poultry and poultry-related products were disinfected
and buried deeply underground.
At present, quarantine workers are vaccinating poultry within 5 kilometers
of the affected farm and disinfecting the nearby areas, including rivers
[sic]. In response to the confirmed bird flu cases in Wuxue City of central
China's Hubei Province, the provincial capital city of Wuhan has started a
comprehensive program to safeguard the city against the highly infectious
H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Over 7.3 million poultry in Wuhan have been vaccinated, and local
poultry-raising farms, poultry marketplaces, supermarkets, and
slaughterhouses disinfected. The local government also banned purchase of
poultry and related products from affected regions and demanded careful
recording of poultry transactions such as commodity sources and quarantine
Inspection results of local industry and commerce departments show no
suspected bird flu cases have been found in Wuhan and poultry business
remains normal. China's well-known tourist province of Hainan also launched
a high-profile campaign against any possible bird flu outbreaks along its
Hainan's preemptive measures against bird flu include sending 2 work teams
to neighboring Hai'an City of south China's Guangdong Province and Beihai
City of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to prevent bird flu
virus from entering the island province.
In fact, it is not only regions where confirmed and suspected bird flu
cases have been reported and nearby localities that have become highly
alert [for any sign of] the disease. Regions far away from the bird flu-hit
localities are also taking precautions.
Recently, Xi'an City of northwest China's Shannxi Province tightened
control and inspection on cargoes, transport vehicles, and mail from bird
flu-stricken countries and regions. Xi'an customs also launched a series
of new rules and work procedures to protect customs staff from catching the
deadly disease at work, according to local sources.
So far, confirmed bird flu cases were found in south China's Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region and central China's Hunan and Hubei provinces. Shanghai,
east China's Anhui Province, and south China's Guangdong Province reported
On China's mainland, the highly infectious H5N1 strain of bird flu can only
be confirmed by the National Bird Flu Reference Laboratory, based in
Harbin, the capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. All
suspected bird flu-infected samples are sent to the laboratory for decisive
diagnosis. The lab is responsible for reporting the final results to the
Ministry of Agriculture, which is authorized to release the information to
No other mainland-based institutions or departments are capable of
diagnosing bird flu or authorized to release relevant information.
[The last article includes 2 photos; one shows "Epidemic prevention
workers" injecting a chicken with vaccine in Beijing on 31 Jan 2004; the
other one shows a (masked) veterinarian vaccinating a goose with bird flu
vaccine in a village near Wugang City in central China's Hubei Province on
30 Jan 2004.
Vaccinating geese might indicate that the current HPAI virus strain is
regarded by the Chinese as pathogenic to geese as well. According to
information included in posting 20040128.0330, for the past 2 years or
more, poultry farmers in southern mainland China have vaccinated their
birds with an H5N1 killed-virus vaccine made at the National Veterinary
Research Institute at Harbin, China. Official confirmation of this
information and data on the vaccine strain used will be helpful.
So far, no official notifications on HPAI in China and Indonesia have been
obtained or published by the OIE.
In response to requests from subscribers: a useful reference regarding
disease strategy for the control and eradication of highly pathogenic avian
influenza is included in the Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan or
AUSVETPLAN (69 pages). Among other subjects, it covers the persistence of
the virus (p. 18), vaccination (pp. 16, 29), and decontamination (p. 29).