China reports another bird flu outbreak
Updated: 2006-02-08 16:03
China reported a fresh outbreak of bird flu on a chicken farm in the northern
province of Shanxi on Wednesday, but the Agriculture Ministry said it had been
brought under control.
A chicken is kept in a cage at a poultry market in
Shanghai February 8, 2006. [Reuters]
By Friday, 15,000 chickens in Yijing township, part of the coal-mining city
of Yangquan, had died, the ministry said in a report on its Web site. They were
confirmed to have the H5N1 strain of avian flu on Tuesday.
Teams from the Agriculture Ministry had been sent to Yijing, where more than
187,000 chickens were culled, and the outbreak was brought under control, it
Scientists fear H5N1, which has killed at least 88 people in seven countries,
since it re-emerged in late 2003, could mutate into a form that passes easily
from person to person, sparking a pandemic.
There was no information yet on whether there were any suspected human cases
from the Shanxi outbreak, said the World Health Organisation's Julie Hall, who
oversees the WHO's fight against bird flu in China.
She said the WHO was in touch with China's Ministry of Health on tracing any
people who might have fallen ill after contact with sick chickens in the area.
With more poultry than anywhere else in the world, China is seen as a key
battleground in fighting the disease.
It had more than 30 poultry outbreaks last year and has had at least 10 human
cases, and Chinese officials have admitted that its vast size and lack of
trained personnel at the local level meant there could be more cases going
Seven of its 10 human cases have died, but a six-year-old boy who fell ill
with bird flu in the central province of Hunan was gaining weight and would soon
be released from hospital, the Beijing Youth Daily reported on Wednesday.
China's Hong Kong, which is also struggling to prevent the spread of the
disease, put a 20-month-old boy into isolation on Tuesday and ordered influenza
tests after he was admitted with a fever and a cough.
Preliminary tests on the baby were negative for H5N1, a health department
Hong Kong announced a new suspected case of bird flu on Tuesday, after
preliminary tests on a dead chicken turned up positive. It urged anyone who felt
sick after coming into contact with chickens in the area to seek immediate
On Tuesday, Hong Kong also passed emergency legislation banning backyard
poultry farming to try to tighten controls and curb the spread of the