Anhui Province in east China has run a program in its six counties to improve bird flu awareness and prevent new human infections.
According to Li Qun, an epidemiologist with the Anhui provincial center of disease control (CDC), the targeted areas are Zongyang, Xiuning, Yingshang, Guangde counties, and Jieshou City and Juchao District of Chaohu City.
"We chose the areas with the highest bird flu risk factors," said Li.
Under the program, which will run until next March, local residents are briefed about seven measures. Key measures are reporting bird flu cases to local authorities, and the need for medical treatment if people develop a fever after being exposed to birds killed by the highly pathogenic bird flu virus strain known as H5N1.
"The program is well timed for two reasons," said Li. "The incidence of respiratory tract diseases is higher in winter and spring than in other seasons of the year, so it is a good time to run the program."
He added that migratory birds travel through Anhui in the winter-spring period as they migrate from cold northern areas to warm southern regions.
Local educational and public health organizations and women's federations in the area have been asked to contribute to the program.
Anhui, one of the areas most affected by the killer avian pandemic, reported three cases of human bird flu infection since last year, all in rural areas.
The victims were women who were exposed to chickens that had died of bird flu or had become sick.