China said Thursday it is taking effective measures to prevent the spread of bird flu and keep it from infecting people as the world's most populous nation reported three outbreaks of the disease in a week.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Premier Wen Jiabao as saying there has been "massive culling of domestic poultry" and strict quarantines to stop the spread of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain. People have been vaccinated in some areas.
"China definitely can bring the bird flu under control through the above measures," Wen said on the sidelines of a meeting in Moscow.
It was the first comment by China's leadership since chickens, ducks and geese were confirmed to have died from the disease in the northern Inner Mongolia region, the eastern province of Anhui and central Hunan province.
Bird flu has killed at least 62 people and resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of chickens in Asia since surfacing in 2003.
Also Thursday, authorities on France's Indian Ocean island of La Reunion were examining three possible human cases of bird flu among tourists who recently visited a bird park in Thailand, reports the AP.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building