China's Vice-Minister of Public Health Wang Longde said in Beijing Friday that no bird flu infections in human have so far been found on the Chinese mainland.
"People who were in close contact with infected poultry have undergone meticulous medical examination and observation, but no human infections have been spotted," he acknowledged.
China's national avian influenza reference laboratory confirmed Tuesday the deaths of ducks in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was caused by the H5N1 strain of the virus. central Hunan and Hubei provinces have also reported suspected cases.
Wang noted that health authorities had tightened the supervision of flu outbreaks across the country in recent years and had collected about 22,000 flu samples since April 2002.
"So far, we have separated 1,459 viral strains from the samples,most of which belong to the type H3 virus," he said, adding that not a single bird flu virus was found.
He said after China's neighbors reported bird flu epidemics, the Ministry of Public Health immediately promptly issued several programs including emergency preventative measures and technical guidelines for laboratory examinations, and requested local authorities to enhance disease monitoring and publicity measures.
Local health authorities were asked to report immediately to the Ministry of Public Health if human infections of bird flu were discovered and to take rigid measures to minimize the spread of the disease, Wang added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed avian influenza cases in Cambodia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Vietnamand China this year. The disease has killed at least 10 victims in Thailand and Vietnam.
Following reports of ducks dying on a farm in Dingdang town, Long'an county in Guangxi, last Friday, the local government culled 14,000 birds within a three-kilometer radius of the duck farm, and vaccinated all poultry within five kilometers.
In Hunan and Hubei provinces where suspected bird flu was spotted, local governments have also culled and vaccinated birds in the area, and sent samples to the relevant authorities.
But Wang said so far no scientific research outcome had proved the bird flu virus could transmit from person to person, so the public should not go panic.