Bird flu back in Tibet with vengeance

34, Jan 30, 2008

An outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza, or bird flu, was reported to have hit Jiedexiu Town in Gongga County, about 50 km (31 miles) south of Tibet’s capital Lhasa. The outbreak occurred on Jan 25 and was confirmed on Jan 29, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jan 29, citing China National Bird Flu Reference Laboratory.

Reuters Jan 29 cited China’s Ministry of Agriculture as saying on its Web site ( that a total of 1,000 poultry had died of the disease in the county since Jan 25, while another 13,080 had been culled. “The National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory confirmed the virus as a subtype of the H5N1 strain,” the Ministry has said.

H5N1 has killed more than 200 people and ravaged poultry flocks worldwide since 2003. Within China it has so far infected at least 27 people, 17 of whom died. Earlier, a total of 4,850 poultry had died of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in Turpan, in Xinjiang, since Dec 29, prompting authorities there to cull another 29,383 birds, said the Reuters report. Epidemiologists fear the H5N1 strain, which remains mainly an animal disease but has infected humans, could mutate to a form that it spreads easily among people. The flu spreads fastest in chilly weather, noted the Reuters report.


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