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Canada prepared for bird flu: health minister
www.chinaview.cn 2005-10-18 04:24:39

    OTTAWA, Oct. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Canada has stockpiled enough vaccine to contain an outbreak if the deadly bird flu becomes transmittable from human to human, Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said.

    The minister said that "it would be next to impossible" to prevent the disease from entering Canada if it mutates, Canadian Television reported Monday.

    The avian flu is now only being transmitted from live birds infected with the virus to humans who come into contact with them.

    The virus has yet to be transmitted from human to human, but has spread to birds in Eastern Europe and has already killed more than 60 people in Asia.

    Dosanjh said Canada has 16 million doses of an anti-viral drug which would be sufficient to vaccinate its most vulnerable citizens such as seniors and immunize the population surrounding any bird flu outbreaks.

    There is also a plan to quarantine affected areas. Besides, the government has signed a contract with a vaccine manufacturer to produce more doses once the strain of this year's avian flu is identified.

    The federal government has also asked a group of researchers todevelop other anti-viral drugs and determine whether those alternatives could be more successful at protecting Canadians.

    Dosanjh will play host next Monday to an international conference on the avian flu. Health ministers and senior officials from 30 countries will meet in Ottawa and discuss how ready the world is to combat a pandemic.

    Meanwhile, Public Health Agency of Canada continues to closely monitor occurrences of avian influenza A (H5N1), in Asia and Eastern Europe, a news release on the website of Health Canada said Monday.

    The agency upgraded its reports of bird flu cases in those countries and warned Canadians travelling there to take necessary measures to avoid infecting the disease.

    It also asks travellers to ensure all birds and poultry products they wish to bring into Canada are eligible for entry anddeclare all animal products upon arrival.

    Travellers who have visited a farm while in an affected country should ensure that clothing and footwear worn on the farm are freefrom soil and manure before entering Canada. Clothing should be laundered and footwear should be disinfected after arrival, the release said. Enditem

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