© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Bird flu hits China as country grapples with outbreak of novel coronavirus
State ministry claim birds have been harmlessly treated
AN outbreak of 5N6 strain of ‘Highly pathogenic’ avian influenza popularly known as bird-flu has broken out in Chinese provinces near Hubei, Wuhan, according to the China Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
Although they are different strains of the virus, however, the current outbreak has been classified as highly pathogenic because of the number of birds that have died from the disease in Sichuan and Hunan Province, both cities close to Wuhan where the novel coronavirus originated first.
Since the outbreak, farmers have been said to have lost a total of 6,500 chickens in the outbreak.
Nearly 2,000 fowl were killed by the H5N6 strain of avian influenza on a poultry farm in Sichuan Province, the authorities announced on Sunday.
Just eight days earlier, 4,500 chickens were reported to have died of H5N1 virus in the province of Hunan.
Not fewer than 1,840 out of the 2,497 domesticated birds on the farm were killed by the infectious viral illness in Xichong in Nanchong City, a county 12hours from Wuhan by car.
Although the precise date of the outbreak was not revealed, the alert for the outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu in Hunan Province which borders Hubei was on 1 February.
Meanwhile, the ministry claimed the country had the outbreak under control. Based on a report, local authorities killed 2261 bird that was infected and had their remains deposed properly.
“After the epidemic occurred, the local government did a good job in handling the epidemic in accordance with the relevant plans and technical requirements for prevention and control,” it said on its website on Sunday.
According to the National Health Service, (NHS), H5N1 and H5N6 strain of the virus is among the four strains that have caused concerns of a bird-to-human transmission, apart from H7N9 and H5N8.
Although the disease doesn’t easily infect humans and hard to spread from humans to humans, during outbreaks recorded around the world, several people were infected and have died from it.
The reports of the bird flu outbreaks come as China is hurting from the outbreak of the fast-spreading coronavirus which has killed over 800 and infected more than 40,000 persons globally according to the World Health Organisation.
No cure has been discovered for the new strain of coronavirus yet, but the European Union last week announced the release of research funds for scientists in the tune of 10million pounds to accelerate possible treatment processes faster.