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Guangdong Reports Poultry Bird Flu Outbreak

An outbreak of bird flu in poultry was reported in south China's Guangdong Province, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said on Sunday.

The National Bird Flu Reference Laboratory confirmed the case, which occurred at a market in Liwan District of Guangzhou City on Thursday. It was caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype of the avian influenza virus, the MOA said.

The disease, which killed 114 domestic fowl and led to the culling of another 518, was brought under effective control after the MOA and provincial government took timely emergency measures.

It was China's fifth bird flu outbreak in poultry this year. Others included one in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, two in the southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region and one in the southwestern Guizhou Province.

On February 25, a 44-year-old woman surnamed Zhang in Haifeng County, also in Guangdong, was killed by the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus. This raised the human bird flu cases recorded in China to 29, of which 19 were fatal, according to the World Health Organization.

Li Jinxiang, director of the MOA's veterinary department, on March 10 blamed the unprecedented snowstorm and cold snap that hit the country earlier this year for the outbreaks of bird flu.

The bird flu virus were active in the cold weather, Li said on the sidelines of the annual session of China's top legislature.

The official added the blizzards also made the virus easier to spread after damaging the living conditions of livestock and affecting their regular immunization work, something which is often conducted in February and March.

(Xinhua News Agency March 17, 2008)

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