China confirms H5N2 bird flu outbreak in Hebei

China confirms H5N2 bird flu outbreak in Hebei

BEIJING - An outbreak of H5N2 bird flu in poultry has been reported in north China's Hebei Province, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced on Saturday.

The disease has killed 4,000 chickens raised by a farm in Baoding City after they showed symptoms of the suspected avian flu on December 17, according to the MOA.

The National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory on Saturday confirmed the epidemic was H5N2 bird flu after testing samples collected at the farm.

Local authorities have sealed off and sterilized the infected area, where a total of 125,700 chickens have been culled and safely disposed of to prevent the disease from spreading.

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a contagious disease of animal origin caused by viruses that normally infect only birds and, less commonly, pigs. It can be fatal to humans.

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