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Bird flu outbreak reported in Tibet; man dies in central China

February 19, 2008

Canadian Press
February 19, 2008

BEIJING - Chinese authorities confirmed Tuesday the second bird flu
outbreak in Tibet this year, a day after reporting a 22-year-old man
in central China died from the virus.

The Ministry of Agriculture said the Tibet outbreak, which started
Feb. 6 in a village on the outskirts of the regional capital Lhasa,
killed 132 poultry and led to the culling of an additional 7,968

Laboratory results over the weekend confirmed it was the H5N1 virus, a
statement on the ministry's website said. Emergency measures have
brought the outbreak under control, the ministry said.

It was the second time this year an outbreak was detected in the
Himalayan region. Last month, a poultry farm in southwestern Tibet was
quarantined after bird flu killed 1,000 birds.

The man's death was the 18th fatality linked to the virus in China,
which raises more poultry than any other country. Identified by his
surname Li, the man died Jan. 24 after developing a fever and

Bird flu remains hard for humans to catch but experts worry outbreaks
in poultry may cause the virus to mutate into a form easily
transmitted among humans, potentially igniting a pandemic. Most human
cases have been traced to contact with infected birds.

Last month, Chinese authorities confirmed a father and son who were
sickened with bird flu were the country's first infections within the
same family but said their cases showed no evidence the virus has
changed into a form that can easily be passed among humans.

The 24-year-old son from the eastern city Nanjing died Dec. 2.

Beijing has promised to aggressively fight the H5N1 virus, which has
killed at least 227 people worldwide.
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