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Bird flu outbreak confirmed in Tibet
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Chinese authorities have confirmed a new bird flu outbreak among poultry in Tibet, the second case of this year in the southwestern region, the Ministry of Agriculture said.

A ministry statement said that 132 poultry had died in the epidemic in a village outside the regional capital, Lhasa, since it started on Feb. 6, while another 7,698 have been culled.

The National Bird Flu Reference Laboratory confirmed the virus as a subtype of the H5N1 strain on Sunday, it said, adding that emergency measures by the local government had brought the situation under control.

The previous outbreak in Tibet, detected in the region's Gongga County on Jan. 25, killed 1,000 chicklings and ducklings and led to the culling of an additional 13,080 birds.

The Ministry of Health said on Monday that a 22-year-old man surnamed Li in the central province of Hunan had died of the virulent H5N1 strain on Jan. 24.

There have been 18 human deaths from the H5N1 strain and 28 confirmed cases of infection in China since 2003, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data.

The deadly virus is most commonly passed from sick poultry to humans through close contact. From 2003 to Feb. 15, 2008, WHO data indicate that 227 people died in 361 confirmed human cases of H5N1.

(Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2008)

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