Mass poultry cull carried out in east China over bird flu threat

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BEIJING, December 16 (RIA Novosti) - About 380,000 chickens and ducks have been culled in eastern China's Jiangsu Province following an outbreak of bird flu, the Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday citing China's Agriculture Ministry.

Two hotbeds of the H5N1 virus have been discovered in the province, the ministry said.

In early December the Chinese Health Ministry warned that new outbreaks of bird flu were likely in the country.

The last confirmed outbreak of bird flu in China was registered last week in Hong Kong, when over 80,000 chickens were slaughtered after samples came back positive for the virus.

According to the World Health Organization, avian influenza has so far killed 243 people out of a total 387 confirmed cases worldwide.

Although there have been no incidences of human to human infection, experts fear that it may mutate into a form that could easily be transmitted from person to person, causing a global pandemic.

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