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Live bird markets to be shut down

THE Ministry of Agriculture plans to close all live bird markets in medium and large cities across the country to combat a possible bird flu epidemic, Beijing Times reported today.

China built up stockpiles of a domestically-produced bird-flu vaccine for humans in February. The vaccine protects people aged 18-60 from the H5N1 virus.

China can make 20 million doses of bird flu vaccine annually.

Beijing is the first city in mainland to close live bird markets. Winter and spring are the peak seasons for bird flu.

A 19-year-old woman died of the virus in a Beijing hospital on January 5. The woman had bought nine ducks at a wet market in neighboring Hebei Province on December 19.


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