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Reports Of New Bird Flu Outbreak In China Raise Concerns

A new outbreak of the much dreaded bird flu has been reported from a chicken farm located in the Northern Province of Shanxi. The situation is being closely // monitored and is believed to be under control, according to health officials from the Agricultural department.

More than 15, 000 chickens in a farm (Yijing township), confirmed to harbor the H5N1 bird flu virus had died. In response to the above situation, a special team to combat spread of the bird flu infection had been sent recently to Yijing. More than 187,000 chickens were culled before the situation could be brought under control.

The deadly avian influenza virus has claimed the valuable lives of more than 88 people ever since it re-appeared in 2003. Although no case of human-human transmission has been documented so far, it is feared that the mutation of the virus into a more virulent form could spark a global pandemic.

The massive poultry resource in China poses a significant challenge in the management of bird flu outbreak. More than 30 poultry outbreaks of bird flu, at least 10 human cases and 7-bird flu related mortalities have been documented since the previous year. The health officials feel that the huge population and the lack of proper medical professionals limit the detection of bird flu infection at an early stage.

This being the situation in China, a 20-month old baby, with fever and cough has been admitted into the isolation ward in Hong Kong. Results of tests to diagnose the suspected bird flu infection would be released soon. The health officials have urged the local public to seek immediate medical attention of any suspected case. Backyard poultry farming has been banned in an attempt to restrict the spread of bird flu.


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