China has warned of possible widespread outbreaks of avian influenza during the coming spring bird migratory season, as the health ministry announced two more human cases of the virus.
"At present we cannot rule out the possibility of widespread outbreaks of the bird flu in China," the Xinhua news agency yesterday quoted Agricultural Minister Du Qinglin (
"We must remain on a high-level alert in all areas and continue to earnestly step up prevention and control work," he said.
Du's remarks on Saturday came as the health ministry reported that a nine-year-old girl and a 26-year-old woman in eastern China had contracted bird flu and were both in critical condition.
The two cases brought the number of people stricken by the bird flu in China to 14, with eight of them dying, the ministry said.
The girl, surnamed You and from Zhejiang Province, showed signs of fever and pneumonia on Feb. 10, while the woman, surnamed Wang and from Anhui Province, showed similar symptoms a day later, the ministry said on its Web site.
Both have been hospitalized.
The pair had close contact with sick or dead chickens before their illness, while the Anhui case occurred in a county where an outbreak among poultry was reported.
People who had close contact with them have been put under medical observation by local health authorities, the report said, adding that so far they had shown no abnormal symptoms.
The World Health Organization (WHO) also urged greater bird flu surveillance and monitoring in China out of fears that human populations will become more endangered if wild birds pass the virus onto poultry farms during the spring migratory season.
"During the spring, migratory birds are likely to come back to China, so there is more concern over outbreaks here," Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, WHO's Beijing-based spokeswoman said.
Fears that migratory birds could infect farm-raised birds further underscored the need to step up monitoring for outbreaks among poultry and ensure the safe movement and transportation of the farmed birds, she said.
"There is an equal level of concern on the movement and transport of poultry ... since humans are in closer contact with poultry, humans will be at higher risk [among farm-raised birds]," Bhatiasevi said.
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
‘SACRIFICED’: Hu Weifeng became the sixth doctor to die from COVID-19 at Wuhan Central Hospital, where calls to raise the alarm over the virus were suppressed The death of a Chinese doctor at Wuhan’s “whistle-blower hospital” has prompted a wave of anger at hospital authorities for not protecting front-line health workers in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hu Weifeng (胡衛鋒), 42, a urologist at Wuhan Central Hospital where the whistle-blower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang (李文亮) worked, died of the virus on Tuesday after a four-month battle. Hu is the sixth doctor from his hospital killed by the virus. Another doctor who spoke out, Ai Fen (艾芬), said that authorities told hospital staff not to wear protective gear so as not to cause panic and reprimanded her for “harming
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear