Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Avian flu outbreak sends Tibetan county on alert

2009-05-19 19:23

GONGHE COUNTY, Qinghai -- A Tibetan county in northwest China's Qinghai Province is culling poultry, disinfecting farms and banning outsiders from entering Tuesday, two days after an outbreak of H5N1 avian flu was confirmed among migratory birds.

Altogether 121 migratory birds were found dead near the Genggahai Lake of Gonghe County in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Hainan on May 8. They tested H5N1 positive at China's National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory on Sunday.

Gonghe County has confiscated 600 poultry and is disinfecting every farm to avoid infection, though no bird flu symptoms has been observed at any farm, a local government spokesman told Xinhua Tuesday.

In Tanggemu town, about 15 km from the lake, a team of medical workers, disease control specialists and policemen were keeping watch Tuesday morning to disinfect every passing vehicle. Vehicles and personnel from outside Gonghe County were banned from entering.

Dukar, a farmer in town, said disease control authorities had taken away all chickens in his neighborhood.

"Officials visited every house to tell us do's and don'ts on bird flu prevention."

Farmer Yul Lhathai said he found two dead sparrows near his home on Monday. "But no one could tell for sure whether they died of bird flu."

At least 1,000 other migratory birds were still seen in the wetland of Gonghe County Tuesday.

The county has 133 hectares of wetland and is a major stopping-off point for migratory birds.

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