Bird Flu Found in Western China as US Combats Cattle Outbreak

BEIJING – Cases of bird flu have been confirmed among wild fowl in western China, the agriculture ministry announced on May 18, amidst rising concerns over an outbreak in the United States affecting cattle herds.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported 275 cases of H5 influenza among dead Pallas’ gulls and other wild birds in two counties of Qinghai province. The China Animal Disease Control Centre reported these cases, and the national Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory confirmed the findings, according to a notice on the ministry’s website.

This announcement comes as the US grapples with an H5N1 outbreak among dairy cattle across at least nine states since late March, raising concerns about potential human transmission, although no such cases have been reported. On May 11, the US government declared it would allocate close to US$200 million to combat the outbreak.

The timing of the bird flu cases in China coincides with an anti-corruption investigation into the country’s agriculture minister, as revealed by the nation’s anti-graft watchdog on May 18.