China confirms H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Xinjiang

China confirms H5N1 bird flu outbreak in XinjiangBeijing, July 3 : China''s northwestern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has reported an outbreak of H5N1 in poultry, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced Monday.

The disease has killed 1,600 chickens raised by the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a unique economic and semi-military government organization of about 2.5 million people.

A total of 5,500 XPCC-farmed chickens showed symptoms of suspected avian flu on June 20, according to the MOA.

The National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory Monday confirmed the epidemic was H5N1 bird flu after testing samples collected at the farm, the MOA said.

Local authorities have sealed off and sterilized the infected area, where a total of 156,439 chickens have been culled and safely disposed of to prevent the disease from spreading, according to the MOA.

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. (Xinhua-ANI)