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Fresh bird flu case in China, India on alert
Updated: 2005-10-26 15:42

Fears of avian flu spreading deepened on Wednesday after China reported another outbreak in poultry and India said it was testing blood samples from 10 dead migratory birds.

There has been a spate of fresh cases in Asia and on the western edge of Europe ahead of the winter, when experts say the deadly H5N1 strain thrives best.

Fresh bird flu case in China, India on alert
Health workers disinfect vehicles coming out of Bayan township near Hohhot in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region October 24, 2005, following the deaths of 2,600 birds from H5N1 bird flu strain in a farm there last week. [China Daily]
Scientists believe migratory birds escaping the harsh northern winter are helping spread the virus and governments around the world are nervously eyeing their borders and testing wild birds landing on their shores.

In China's latest case, hundreds of chickens and ducks died in a village in central Hunan province.

China had notified the United Nations of the latest outbreak in Wantang village in Xiangtan County near the provincial capital Changsha on Tuesday, according to a notice on the Web site of the World Organization for Animal Health (www.oie.int).

"The outbreak has been effectively controlled," the Agriculture Daily newspaper said, quoting the national bird flu laboratory as saying it had identified the strain as the deadly H5N1.

China reported on Tuesday another outbreak among farm geese in the eastern province of Anhui and said it too had been brought under control with no reported human infections.

China, the world's most populous nation, has billions of poultry, many living around the homes of farmers. At present, most people are infected with bird flu by handling sick birds or through their droppings.

But scientists' greatest fear is that H5N1 will mutate into a form that will pass easily among people, sparking a pandemic that could kill millions and cripple the global economy.

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