BEIJING, June 6 (Xinhua) -- China's northwestern Gansu province has reported an outbreak of the highly epidemic H5N1 bird flu virus in poultry, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced Wednesday.
More than 6,200 chickens at a farm in a village in Luyang, a town in Jingtai county, showed symptoms of suspected avian flu Friday, and 260 of them have died, according to the MOA.
The National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory on Tuesday 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 18,460 chickens have been culled and safely disposed of in order to prevent the disease from spreading since the case was confirmed, according to the MOA.
A team was dispatched by the ministry to the quarantined area to guide epidemic prevention and monitoring.
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.