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Now China is hit by BIRD FLU outbreak: 'Highly pathogenic' H5N1 bug that can spread to humans kills 4,500 chickens on farm south of Coronavirus epicentre

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 02/02/2020 Isabella Nikolic For Mailonline

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Watch: China reports bird flu outbreak (Reuters)

China has reportedly seen an outbreak of a 'highly pathogenic' strain of H5N1 bird flu which has already killed 4,500 chickens. 

The outbreak was initially reported at a farm in Shaoyang city in the southern province of Hunan, south of the epicentre of the Coronavirus in Wuhan. 

According to the Reuters report, Chinese authorities have already culled 17,828 poultry in the wake of the outbreak. 

a man standing on a bridge: China has reportedly seen an outbreak of a 'highly pathogenic' strain of H5N1 bird flu which has already killed 4,500 chickens. Pictured is a poultry farm in China © Provided by Daily Mail China has reportedly seen an outbreak of a 'highly pathogenic' strain of H5N1 bird flu which has already killed 4,500 chickens. Pictured is a poultry farm in China

The farm has now been sealed off and sterilised.  

The bird flu has been classed as highly pathogenic because of the number of birds which have died from the disease. 

According to the NHS, the H5N1 strain of the virus has 'caused concern' in recent years. 

Although the disease doesn't easily infect humans and it is hard to spread it from human to human, several people have been infected around the world and died. 

a brown chicken standing in a cage: The outbreak was initially reported at a farm in Shaoyang city (not pictured) in the southern province of Hunan, south of the epicentre of the Coronavirus in Wuhan. © Provided by Daily Mail The outbreak was initially reported at a farm in Shaoyang city (not pictured) in the southern province of Hunan, south of the epicentre of the Coronavirus in Wuhan.

When people do become infected by the disease, the rate of mortality is about 60 per cent, according to the World Health Organisation. 

People can become infected by coming into close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments. 

a group of people wearing costumes: Shaoyang is about 350 miles from the central city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began late last month. Pictured are medical officers evacuating people from Wuhan © Provided by Daily Mail Shaoyang is about 350 miles from the central city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began late last month. Pictured are medical officers evacuating people from Wuhan Shaoyang is about 302 miles from the central city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak began late last month.  

The coronavirus death toll has now reached 305. Only one person has died outside of China, in the Philippines. 

a close up of a map © Provided by Daily Mail As the coronavirus death toll in China today rose to 350 and the World Health Organisation has declared a global emergency, it has also emerged:

It can take up to two weeks, or potentially more, for symptoms to appear so people may not know they are infected.  

What do we know about the Wuhan coronavirus?

a view of a city: An aerial view shows the newly completed Huoshenshan Hospital, a dedicated hospital built in eight days to treat coronavirus patients, in Wuhan © Provided by Daily Mail An aerial view shows the newly completed Huoshenshan Hospital, a dedicated hospital built in eight days to treat coronavirus patients, in Wuhan Someone who is infected with the Wuhan coronavirus can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze, scientists say.

At least 213 people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 9,800 have been infected in at least 21 countries and regions. But experts predict the true number of people with the disease could be 100,000, or even as high as 350,000 in Wuhan alone, as they warn it may kill as many as two in 100 cases.  Here's what we know so far:

What is the Wuhan coronavirus? 

a close up of a busy city street: A general view of Jianguo Road in Beijing, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus © Provided by Daily Mail A general view of Jianguo Road in Beijing, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body's normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word 'corona', which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It is currently named 2019-nCoV, and does not have a more detailed name because so little is known about it.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: 'Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals. 

Thailand health officials claim 'good results' after using two antiviral drugs on coronavirus patients

Thailand has seen promising results after using a mix of two antiviral drugs, according to a health ministry briefing, reports Bloomberg. 

Medics tested the drug mix on a patient who was in a serious condition with the disease and within 48 hours they were declared disease-free.

The drugs, originally used for HIV and influenza treatment, were a success according to Dr Kriangsak Attipornwanich.  

In pictures: Coronavirus outbreak (Photos)

Thailand has seen 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 11 are still in hospital but the rest have returned home.   

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Chanvirakul said that the nation will repatriate more than 100 people from Wuhan on February 4 after they pass medical screening in China. 

They will then be quarantined for 14 days after returning to Thailand.  

'Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses). 

'Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.' 

© Reuters The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started seeing infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.

Related: 20 deadliest diseases in human history (Photos)

Just a week after that, there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimated that some 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – were infected in Wuhan alone. By that point, 26 people had died. 

By January 27, more than 2,800 people were confirmed to have been infected, 81 had died, and estimates of the total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.

By January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and cases were in excess of 6,000.  

Where does the virus come from?

Nobody knows for sure. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of the virus in Wuhan came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in the city, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat.

Bats are a prime suspect – researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said in a recent statement: 'The Wuhan coronavirus' natural host could be bats… but between bats and humans there may be an unknown intermediate.'

And another scientific journal article has suggested the virus first infected snakes, which may then have transmitted it to people at the market in Wuhan.

Peking University researchers analysed the genes of the coronavirus and said they most closely matched viruses which are known to affect snakes. They said: 'Results derived from our evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV,' in the Journal of Medical Virology.


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