China Reports New H5N1 Bird Flu Outbreak

The Associated Press
Saturday, September 30, 2006; 11:01 AM

BEIJING -- A new outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu killed 985 chickens in China's northern region of Inner Mongolia, a state news agency reported Saturday.

The discovery in a village near the city of Baotou prompted authorities to destroy 8,990 other chickens to prevent the virus from spreading, the Xinhua News Agency said.

A laboratory confirmed Friday that the dead birds had the H5N1 strain of the virus, Xinhua said.

The strain has killed at least 148 people worldwide since it started ravaging poultry stocks in Asia three years ago, according to World Health Organization figures.

China has reported dozens of H5N1 outbreaks in its vast poultry flocks and has destroyed millions of birds in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

Veterinary experts believe the virus is spread by wild fowl that migrate across China.

Health experts have warned that China is bound to suffer more human cases if it can't stop further outbreaks in poultry.

China has suffered 13 human deaths from bird flu, including a soldier who died in 2003 but whose infection was only confirmed in August this year through genetic testing.

Eight earlier poultry outbreaks were recorded this year in central China and areas of the north, east and southwest, according to Xinhua.

The most recent was in Changsha in the central province of Hunan, when 1,805 ducks were killed, the agency said. It said a quarantine on the area was lifted Sept. 6 after no new cases were found after three weeks.


© 2006 The Associated Press