BEIJING, June 1 -- China plans to launch an early warning system to detect and prevent the spread of bird flu in cases similar to the recent outbreak of the virus in northwest China, authorities said yesterday.
The network will be based on a wide array of information technologies, according to an official with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the system's developer.
The system will feature a nationwide virus database, epidemic analysis and information sharing among foreign experts and regular information releases to the public, according to Ma Juncai, assistant director of the academy¡¯s Institute of Microbiology.
¡°The system would warn people of an epidemic and help scientists find solutions to kill the virus as soon as possible,¡± Ma said during the Fifth Annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asia Pacific Region, held in Shanghai. Ma and his co-workers are developing the system in eight provinces including Yunnan and Hunan.
¡°The high-tech system is under construction, but it¡¯s hard to predict when it will be put into use,¡± Ma said.
China announced last Friday that more than 1,000 migratory birds, mainly geese and gulls, had died from avian flu in the country¡¯s northwest, mostly in Qinghai Province.
Bird flu virus has killed at least 37 people in Vietnam, 12 in Thailand and four in Cambodia. ¡°Bird flu is more difficult to control compared with SARS because it is hard to detect. Its human symptoms are similar to a bad cold,¡± Ma said.
¡°So it is urgent to establish a warning system in China.¡± During the forum, officials with the Shanghai Information Technology Development Commission emphasized that the city will continue to establish e-government and e-commerce platforms in the next five years.
Meanwhile, Shanghai will develop next generation networks, digital TV, flat panel display devices and third-generation telecommunications, which represent the most advanced technologies in the world, according to Liu Jian, a senior official with the commission. Also at the forum, Alcatel Shanghai Bell promoted its e-government system, which can integrate fire, police and medical emergency numbers into a single number. ¡°It can also automatically manage all authorities to react together (to an emergency) to reduce damage,¡± said Wang Weiguo, an Alcatel vice president. The three-day information technology forum, which ends today, has attracted 1,100 government officials and experts from 44 countries and regions.
(Source: Shanghai Daily news)