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China confirms H5N8 avian influenza cases

BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — China’s capital Beijing has reported cases of H5N8 avian influenza in a park, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said Monday.

The highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected among wild swans in the Old Summer Palace or “Yuanmingyuan” in Beijing. So far, three wild swans have been infected and three have died, the ministry said.

Local authorities have activated the emergency response mechanism, sterilized the environment and disposed of all dead wild birds safely, according to the ministry.

H5N8 is a subtype of the Influenza A virus (sometimes called bird flu virus). While H5N8 presents only a low risk to humans, it is highly lethal to wild birds and poultry. 

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