China’s agriculture ministry on Thursday said that it has discovered a new case of highly pathogenic H5N6 avian flu in a flock of about 150 wild swans in the western Xinjiang region, reported international media. In a statement posted on its website, the ministry revealed that the flu had claimed the life of a swan and made another sick. Last week, officials from the ministry reported a case of the same strain of bird flu in swans in the region.
China has not only been hit by bird flu but also pneumonia. Since the start of December, hospitals in the Wuhan have admitted 27 patients with viral pneumonia of unknown origin, all patients from the particular Huanan seafood market. The doctors are yet to identify which virus is causing the epidemic. The State Health Authorities said that the patients suffer a fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius which has similar characteristics of pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome present in imaging findings.
The health authorities of China said on December 31 said that they are investigating 27 cases of viral pneumonia in the central city of Wuhan after rumours were spread on social media which suggests the epidemic could be linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Meanwhile, an outbreak of bird flu has been reported from a state-run poultry farm in Chhattisgarh’s Koriya district, prompting the authorities to cull over 15,000 birds and step up vigil on poultry birds within 10 km radius of the affected area, officials said. So far, 15,426 chickens and quails have been culled and 30,000 eggs destroyed after the highly contagious H5N1 virus was detected among birds at the poultry farm and hatchery in Baikunthpur town, located around 300 km from here, they said.
Of the total culled birds, nearly 641 chickens were being reared by locals within one km radius of the farm. The locals were given compensation for the culling of their birds, he said.
(with inputs from agencies)