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MAC issues yellow travel alert for Beijing over flu

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Thursday issued a yellow travel alert for Beijing, a day after Canada reported the first H5N1 avian flu death of an Alberta resident who visited the Chinese capital.

The Canadian health office on Wednesday confirmed that a resident from Alberta died from the H5N1 avian flu, the first case of the virus in North America. Canada's health watchdog said the infected individual had recently traveled to Beijing.

The MAC upgraded its epidemic travel advisory for Beijing to a level-2 alert, the same level set last Saturday for travel to Shanghai and last year for travel to Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.

The MAC also urged people who have to travel to epidemic areas in China to avoid direct contact with birds or poultry, wash their hands frequently and wear a surgical mask, not feed wild birds including pigeons, and not eat uncooked meat and eggs.

If travelers to epidemic areas develop a fever and cough, they should promptly see a doctor after returning to Taiwan, the council warned.

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