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Bird flu outbreak at China poultry farm confirmed as H5N2: state media

epa03975979 Live chickens for sale are seen in a cage at a 'wet market' in Hong Kong, China, 04 December 2013. An Indonesian domestic helper is in a c...
Chickens for sale are seen in a cage in Hong Kong, China, in this file photo from Dec 4. ALEX HOFFORD

BEIJING, China - An outbreak of H5N2 bird flu has been reported in poultry north China's Hebei Province, the country’s Ministry of Agriculture announced Saturday, according to state news agency, Xinhua. 

The disease has killed 4,000 chickens at a farm in Baoding City since they first displayed symptoms of the suspected avian flu on Dec. 17, the ministry said.

The National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory confirmed the cause of the outbreak was H5N2 bird flu after testing samples collected at the farm.

Authorities have sealed off and sterilized the infected area, where a total of 125,700 chickens have been culled and safely disposed of to prevent the outbreak from spreading.

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.