China has warned of an increased risk of animal-related health epidemics during its lunar new year holiday and said many local governments were not prepared, state media reported on Wednesday.
The heightened risk in a country prone to animal diseases stems from the massive numbers of travellers and livestock expected to be transported around the country for China's biggest holiday, Xinhua news agency said.
AdvertisementIt quoted Agriculture Minister Sun Zhengcai as saying the activities of migratory birds were another factor.
Sun urged local authorities to step up vaccinations against animal diseases to guarantee a safe and sufficient supply of pork and chicken during the holiday, known in China as the Spring Festival.
He did not specify which areas faced the biggest danger, according to Xinhua, but he said that "disease prevention measures in some areas were not in place."
The festival occurs in early February this year. Each year, millions of Chinese head home to celebrate the holiday with their families.
China remains on alert for frequent occurrences of bird flu, which can be deadly to humans. The virus has so far infected at least 27 people in China, 17 of whom have died.
Authorities also last year struggled to control an outbreak of a swine disease that led to a massive pig cull and drove up pork prices.