China’s Sichuan reports H5N6 bird flu as it struggles to cope with Wuhan virus

Hunan Province also reported outbreak of deadly avian flu H5N1 earlier this month

(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — While China scrambles to contain the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, the recurrence of various types of bird flu appears to be adding to its woes, most recently an H5N6 outbreak in Sichuan.

A poultry farm in the southwestern province on Sunday (Feb. 9) reported cases of the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of avian flu. This represents the first outbreak of H5N6 avian influenza detected recently at a poultry farm following four infections found in swans in the autonomous territory of Xinjiang last month, wrote Reuters.

The agriculture ministry said 1,840 of the farm’s 2,497 birds died in the outbreak — a fatality rate of 70 percent. Another 2,261 have been culled, reported Liberty Times.

H5N6 can cause severe illness in humans, but human infections appear to be sporadic with no ongoing human-to-human transmission. China has reported a total of 24 confirmed human cases of H5N6 to the World Health Organization (WHO) since 2014, including seven deaths, according to a WHO report on Jan. 24.

Earlier this month, the Chinese province of Hunan reported an outbreak of H5N1 avian flu, another highly pathogenic strain of virus. The incident led to the culling of 17,828 poultry.