BIRD FLU EPIDEMIC SPREADS IN CHINA

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Feb. 4) - China's bird flu crisis has worsened - an outbreak has been confirmed in the south of the country and suspected cases have been reported in two new provinces.

Meanwhile the World Health Organization says it has been waiting for the past two weeks for details on China's surveillance system and vaccination efforts.

It also wants information on two Hong Kong tourists who died after visiting the mainland last year, amid reports the bird flu, which has hit 10 Asian nations and killed 13 people, may have originated in China early last year.

China last month insisted there were no cases of bird flu in the country and only reported its first outbreak last week.

But now more than one third of China's 31 provincial-level regions are affected.

Officials have confirmed a suspected case in the southern province of Guangdong, while the northern provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi are the latest hit by suspected outbreaks.

February 4, 2004

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra

 

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