Monday, November 28, 2005

News - New bird flu outbreak reported in northern China

A new outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed in China's northern region of Inner Mongolia, the agriculture ministry said on Saturday.

The latest bird flu outbreak is the 23rd in China since October.

Experts confirmed H5N1 bird flu after 246 birds died in Inner Mongolia's Zalantun city last Sunday, the ministry said.

Local veterinary workers have culled 16,567 birds at poultry farms within 3 kilometres of the affected area, it said.

China has reported three confirmed human infections with bird flu.

World Health Organization experts plan to travel next week to the eastern province of Anhui, where two women died after contact with infected poultry.

Health ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an on Friday said China was making "timely reports" to WHO on the bird flu outbreaks and had "immediately released the information to the public".

Allegations that China may have hidden a much larger number of human infections were "absolutely groundless" rumours, the government's official Xinhua news agency quoted Mao as saying.

Chinese agriculture and health authorities have stepped up education campaigns with prime-time television and newspaper advertisements urging caution and proper hygiene in handling live and slaughtered poultry.

Health officials worldwide fear that a mutation that makes the virus highly infectious between people could lead to a global human pandemic, killing millions.

Bangkok Post - Breaking News

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