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Bird flu outbreak confirmed in Tibet

Chinese authorities confirmed Tuesday the second bird flu outbreak in Tibet this year, a day after reporting a 22-year-old man in central China died from the virus.
The Ministry of Agriculture said the Tibet outbreak, which started Feb. 6 in a village on the outskirts of the regional capital of Lhasa, killed 132 poultry and led to the culling of an additional 7,968 birds.
Laboratory results over the weekend confirmed it was the H5N1 virus, a statement on the ministry's Web site said. Emergency measures have brought the outbreak under "control," the ministry said.
It was the second time this year an outbreak was detected in the Himalayan region. Last month, a poultry farm in southwestern Tibet was quarantined after bird flu killed 1,000 birds.
The man's death was the 18th fatality linked to the virus in China, which raises more poultry than any other country. Identified by his surname Li, the man died Jan. 24 after developing a fever and headaches.
Bird flu remains hard for humans to catch, but experts worry that outbreaks in poultry may cause the virus to mutate into a form easily transmitted among humans, potentially igniting a pandemic. Most human cases have been traced to contact with infected birds.
Last month, Chinese authorities confirmed a father and son who were sickened with bird flu were the country's first infections within the same family, but said their cases showed no evidence that the virus has changed into a form that can easily be passed between humans.
The 24-year-old son from the eastern city of Nanjing died Dec. 2.
Beijing has vowed to aggressively fight the H5N1 virus, which has killed at least 227 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Updated : 2021-10-20 17:37 GMT+08:00