In 1997 Hong Kong’s “bird flu ” was a virus that was part human part avian. Much luck hard scientific labor and prompt containment measures prevented that outbreak from turning into a global catastrophe. Next time we might not be so fortunate.


 The Council of Agriculture (COA) has decided to destroy close to 20,000 chickens at a ranch in Changhua County found to have the H5N2 strain of avian flu virus, in a move to control its possible spread.
 A Department of Health (DOH) issued a new warning that Taiwan should be on high alert against avian flu because the island happens to be a mid-point stop in Asia of migratory birds. COA officials confirmed yesterday that H5N2 virus was detected at a ranch in Fanyuan Hsiang of Changhua in central Taiwan. More than 19,000 chickens and all eggs at the ranch will be destroyed and buried as early as possible.

 ranch n .農場
 avian flu 禽流感
 alert n.警戒
 confirm v.証實
 detect v. 查出

 He added that the recent avian flu cases among people in Asia is a bad sign.
reiterated the warning after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the previous day that avian flu could pose a greater threat than the outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the first half of 2003.
 Last year, SARS killed 800 people around the world, becoming an international crisis that resulted in travel advisories and economic chaos.
 Noting that avian flu cases have been reported among people in Hong Kong in recent years and that three people in Vietnam have died of the disease, Su said Taiwan should be on guard against a possible outbreak.
 Su said that the government will step up monitoring work of the health of chickens and ducks in Taiwan, adding that if the birds are found to have the disease, they will be destroyed immediately.
 It was originally thought that only birds could be
infected with the disease. However, the disease jumped the species barrier in Hong Kong in May 1997 with the first reported human case of avian flu.
 Although it has been known for some time that a wide range of influenza viruses circulate among wild birds, only two types have ever been known to jump to humans — H5N1 and H9N2.
 Su said Taiwan has never had a reported avian flu case in the past, but the monitoring of migratory birds last year led to the discovery of the H5 virus in some of the birds. Fortunately, it was not the H5N1 subtype, and it was not transmitted to fowl in Taiwan.
 Medical experts said that people with pet birds or treating injured birds should make sure to wear gloves and masks as a precaution. There should be plastic sheets placed at the bottom of paper cartons, in addition to newspaper when taking the birds to experts for diagnosis.
 Meanwhile, COA officials said the supply and prices of chickens, ducks, and eggs for the Chinese New Year holiday season will remain stable in spite of the avian flu scare.

 reiterate v.重申
 advisory n.公告
 chaos n.混亂
 outbreak n.爆發
 step up 加快;增加
 monitor v.監控
 infect n.受感染
 barrier n.界線;障礙
 influenza n.流行性感冒
 circulate v.循環
 fowl n.家禽
 precaution n.預防

 Pakistan said two million chickens had died of a mild form of the disease and Taiwan reported a new outbreak of the mild H5N2 virus which cannot, unlike the H5N1 strain, pass to humans as it has in Vietnam, where it killed six people, and Thailand.
 Thailand expanded its bird flu crisis zone to 10 of its 76 provinces from just two as it grappled with a virus the World Health Organization fears might mate with human influenza and unleash a flu pandemic.
 Indonesia said at least 400 farms across the vast archipelago suffered outbreaks. But officials said they would only know by the end of the week, when laboratory test results were available, whether it was the less dangerous of two avian flu strains.
 The WHO said it had seen no evidence its greatest fear, people-to-people transmission, had been realized yet.
 But it fears the potentially deadly H5N1 strain could jump into Myanmar and Laos from stricken farms just over the border in Thailand.

 grapple with 搏鬥
 pandemic a.(疾病)全國流行的
 archipelago n.群島
 potentially adv.潛在地
 border n.邊界

 Su also said that the number of human flu cases reported in Taiwan this year was the lowest in 30 years, with the number of cases this month so far down by two-thirds on the cases reported in January last year.
 Su attributed the cut in flu cases to vaccinations administered last year as well as widely implemented health education measures.
 "We've already vaccinated 4,700 pig and poultry farm workers and will continue to vaccinate cullers and other workers in the industry," Su said.
Although these vaccinations were useless in fighting avian flu, Shih said that they were still being provided for two important reasons.
 "Firstly, we do not want bird flu to latch on to strains of human flu. The vaccinations will reduce the number of people with human influenza.
 "Secondly, people sick with human influenza would be more susceptible to bird flu," Shih said.
 "If bird flu and human flu come into contact with one another, a virus mutation would be likely and the possibility of person-to-person transmission of avian flu would increase," Su said prior to his departure.

 attribute v.把…歸因於…
 vaccination n.種痘;接種
 administer v.管理
 implement v.施行
 vaccinate v.注射疫苗
 poultry n.家禽
 latch v.抓住;佔有
 susceptible a.易受…影嚮的
 mutation n.變化

 The spread of bird flu has emerged with a rapidity the WHO calls "historically unprecedented."
 "We don't know how this virus is spreading and so it's safe to presume that nowhere can consider itself safe," Cordingley said. "The challenge is growing by the day."
 The deaths of the Thai boys means all but one of at least eight confirmed flu victims have been children, leaving scientists trying to figure out why the young are so vulnerable.
 Thailand also has 10 suspected cases, of whom five have died, and tests are underway to determine whether bird flu was the cause. Right now, the priority is killing all the chickens in range of the virus.
Millions have been slaughtered, especially in Thailand.
 The country raises one billion chickens a year and is the fourth biggest poultry exporter in the world.

rapidity n.迅速
 unprecedented a.空前的
 presume v.推測
 vulnerable a.易受傷的
 slaughter v.宰殺
 exporter n.輸出國

 Health experts have warned that SARS and the bird flu virus H5N1 could re-emerge this winter, traditionally the peak season for human influenza.    
 Scientists fear the bugs could mix with human flu and produce even deadlier and more infectious strains.
 Both SARS and the bird flu have cast the spotlight on Chinese culinary culture and eating habits, and whether they can be adapted to modern health standards.
 Chinese have always preferred to buy chickens live at markets or even breed them in their own backyards, believing that freshly slaughtered chicken tastes better and is more nutritious.

peak a.高峰的
 bug n.病菌
 culinary a.烹飪的

 Asian governments have worked quickly to try to curb the virus, and the WHO's Vietnam representative Pascale Brudon attributed that in part to last year's major outbreak of SARS.
 "I can see there is increased awareness of the need for good surveillance, the need for acting urgently when we have a problem. I think this is a ... positive aspect and a lesson learned from SARS, which has helped us in this new crisis," Brudon said in Hanoi.
 In Taiwan, health workers donned surgical masks and blue suits yesterday to dispose of 20,000 chickens infected with a milder variant of the virus hitting the other Asian countries. Officials on the island said the H5N2 strain poses little threat but that they wanted to avoid possible mutations and other risks.
 Not taking any chances, Hong Kong moved to bar poultry imports from Taiwan.
 Taiwan, China and Cambodia already have halted poultry imports from Vietnam, South Korea and Japan. Indonesia barred poultry imports from those three countries yesterday.
 The H5N1 virus is the same one that jumped to people in Hong Kong in 1997, killing six.
 The deadly virus - highly contagious among chickens - has not shown any human-to-human transmission, and is believed to spread to humans through contact with infected birds. Health officials say if it mutates and mixes genetic material with a human flu virus it could become contagious in humans, sparking a major health crisis.

curb v.控制
 surveillance n.監視
 urgently adv.急迫地
 surgical a.外科的
 dispose of 解決;處理
 variant n.變化
 bar v.封鎖;中止
 halt v.停止
 contagious a.接觸性傳染的