China reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Hunan amid coronavirus spread

Henrietta Brewer
February 3, 2020

According to a report from Reuters 4,500 chickens died on the farm where the outbreak occurred.

Hunan borders Hubei, where the majority of coronavirus cases have been confirmed, to the south.

The virus was detected on a farm with almost 8,000 chickens - more than half of them have already died because of the outbreak, according to local media.

According to worldwide reports, followed by the H5N1 outbreak, authorities have selectively slaughtered more than 17,000 poultry.


A "highly pathogenic" strain of the H5N1 avian flu has been reported in China's Hunan province, China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said.

It is possible, but hard, to transmit bird flu from person to person, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Infections between people were extremely limited, even though there were fears the virus would evolve into an easily transmissible form, so bird flu was not considered a human epidemic.

China is not alone in grappling with the H5N1 outbreak.


Chinese authorities are on high alert in response to the bird flu outbreak given the continuing spread of the new coronavirus among humans.

According to the World Health Organization, while H5N1 can be transmitted to humans, typically through contact with dead birds or a contaminated environment, it is rare in humans. "The consequences for public health could be very serious", the WHO said.

The latest H5N1 outbreak comes as China and countries around the world are trying to tackle the Wuhan virus outbreak that has killed more than 300 people.


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