The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) reported today on an outbreak of the H5N6 avian influenza virus on a poultry farm in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, the Xinhua news service reports.

The ministry says some 20,000 geese exhibited symptoms of bird flu, with 18,000 dying. After determining the pathogen as H5N6 bird flu, the area was sealed and some 69,000 birds were culled.

In May this year, a man from the southwest province of Sichuan has become the first human case and fatality of the avian influenza A(H5N6) virus.  This is the first reported case of the H5N6 virus in humans in the world.

The likely source of his infection was exposure to infected poultry. The virus was identified in chickens from his poultry farm (this has been confirmed by the relevant authorities).

H5N6 is a low-pathogenic bird flu virus found between 1984 and 2013 in Germany, Sweden and the United States. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page