BEIJING (Reuters) - China has confirmed a H5N6 bird flu outbreak hit a goose farm in its southern Hunan province, killing 1,054 birds, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Wednesday.
Local government culled a further 2,067 birds after the outbreak, the fifth among poultry since October, bringing the total cull to more than 175,000 birds since then. China has also closed some live poultry markets after people and chickens were infected by strains of the avian flu.
China has confirmed 106 cases of human H7N9 bird flu infections, and 20 deaths in December, according to a statement issued on the website of National Health and Family Planning Commission on Wednesday.
While South Korea and Japan are battling their own major outbreaks, the current China outbreaks appear isolated. The virus is likely to strike in winter and spring, and farmers have in recent years ramped up measures such as cleaning regimes to prevent the disease.
Widespread infection can lead to severe health risks and big financial losses. The last major outbreak in China killed 36 people and caused more than $6 billion in losses for the agricultural sector.
China is the world’s no. 3 producer of broiler chickens and the second-biggest poultry consumer.
Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephne Mason; Editing by Randy Fabi and Tom Hogue