An outbreak of bird flu in poultry has been reported in China's southwestern mountainous province of Guizhou, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said Monday.
The National Bird Flu Reference Laboratory confirmed the case, which occurred in Zheng'an County, Zunyi City on Feb. 17, was caused by the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype of the avian influenza virus, the MOA said.
The disease, which killed 3,993 birds, was brought under effective control after the culling of another 238,364, it added.
It is China's fourth bird flu outbreak in poultry this year, with two in southwestern Tibet Autonomous Region and one in northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
A 44-year-old woman who was suspected of having bird flu died in hospital on Monday in the southern province of Guangdong, the provincial health department confirmed.
China has recorded a total of 29 human bird flu cases, of which 19 were fatal, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
On Feb. 18, the Ministry of Health confirmed that a 22-year-old man surnamed Li, in the central province of Hunan, tested positive for H5N1. He died on Jan. 16.
On Feb. 20, a 41-year-old man surnamed Liang, who had tested positive for H5N1, died in Nanning, capital of southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The bird flu virus is most commonly passed from sick poultry to humans through close contact. From 2003 to Feb. 15, 2008, WHO data indicated that 227 people had died in 361 confirmed human cases of H5N1.
(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2008)