China culls nearly 100,000 chickens in response to bird flu

China's Ministry of Agriculture recently reported an outbreak of highly epidemic H5N1 avian influenza among poultry stocks.

The outbreak began in the township of Touying in the northwestern Ningxia autonomous region. More than 23,000 chickens at several farms have shown signs and symptoms of avian flu, according to the AFP.

The MOA said that preventative measures have been put in place to stop the outbreak from spreading. Government officials have culled nearly 100,000 chickens in response, and a quarantine team has arrived in the city of Guyuan to teach poultry farmers how to protect their animals, according to

"The epidemic is under control now," the MOA said in a statement, reports.

Experts consider China to be at high risk for a bird flu epidemic because it has the world's largest poultry population and in many rural areas chickens are kept close to humans.

Two people have died from avian flu infections in China so far this year, according to Chinese public health authorities. According to the World Health Organization, 28 of the 42 known infected Chinese victims of H5N1 have died from the disease.

In January, a 39-year-old bus driver in Shenzen, a city near Hong Kong, died the same day he was admitted to the hospital with symptoms. The case was notable because the victim did not report any close contact with birds within a month before the onset of the illness, according to CIDRAP News.