China has confirmed an outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus among ducks in an outlying district of the southern city of Guangzhou.
The ministry said on its Web site (www.agri.gov.cn) late on Monday that 36,130 ducks had been culled following the outbreak in Guangzhou's Panyu District.
"At present, the epidemic has been bought under effective control," it said.
The strain was confirmed as a subtype of the H5N1 strain by the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory, the ministry added.
There have been no other reports of outbreaks in the nearby area, it said.
In Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post quoted a Guangzhou official as saying more than 100,000 birds were to be destroyed in the next few days to prevent bird flu from spreading.
"We would rather kill 100,000 ducks wronglfully than miss even one (that has the virus)," Su Zequn, vice mayor of Panyu county's Sixian village, told the newspaper.
It also quoted Yu Yedong, the director of the Guangdong Animal Vaccination Centre as saying that although almost all poultry in the province had been vaccinated, it took at least 21 days for vaccines to create enough antibodies in birds.
On Monday, Hong Kong suspended chilled and frozen duck and geese imports from Guangdong province following China's announcement that that poultry there was suspected to be infected with H5N1.
China's last poultry case of the virus was in May, in the central province of Hunan.
With the world's biggest poultry population and millions of backyard birds roaming free, China is at the centre of the fight against bird flu.
Scientists fear the bird flu virus could mutate into a form that could pass easily from person to person, sparking a global pandemic.
Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2007, 17:39