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. China reports outbreak of bird flu in Tibet

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 29, 2008
China's agricultural authorities Tuesday reported an outbreak of bird flu in Tibet near the regional capital of Lhasa, state media said.

The outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza occurred in Tibet's Gongga county, Xinhua news agency said, citing the China National Bird Flu Reference Laboratory.

The outbreak had been suspected as of January 25, but only confirmed by the laboratory on Tuesday, it said.

Experts have been dispatched to the county, which lies about 50 kilometres (31 miles) south of Lhasa.

Local health officials have been ordered to take measures to stop the outbreak from spreading and quarantine affected areas, the report said.

Xinhua said 1,000 birds had died from the disease while another 13,080 were slaughtered in an effort to stop the epidemic from spreading.

No human infections have been reported, it said.

China remains on alert for frequent occurrences of bird flu which has so far infected at least 27 people in the country, 17 of whom died.

Last week, health authorities warned of an increased risk of animal-related health epidemics during the Lunar New Year holiday that begins on February 7, saying many local governments were not prepared.

The heightened risk in a country prone to animal diseases stems from the massive numbers of travellers and livestock expected to be transported around the country for China's biggest holiday, press reports said.

H5N1 has killed more than 200 people and ravaged poultry flocks worldwide since 2003, according to the World Health Organisation.

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Rains offer hope for bird virus outbreak
Murshidabad, India (UPI) Jan 26, 2008
An outbreak of avian flu in Murchidabad, India, may have been temporarily restrained thanks to a series of unseasonal rains.

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