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 said Saturday, as concerns grow over a U.S. outbreak infecting cattle. 

Two counties in Qinghai province confirmed 275 cases of H5 influenza among dead Pallas’s gull and other wild birds, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a notice on its website. 

The ministry received a report on the cases from the China Animal Disease Control Center, and the national Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory confirmed the finding, the notice said. 

The H5N1 outbreak among dairy cattle in at least nine U.S. states since late March has raised questions over whether it could spread to humans. No such cases have been reported. 

The U.S. announced on May 11 that it would spend close to $200 million to fight the outbreak. 

News of the China bird flu cases came as the nation’s anti-graft watchdog announced a corruption probe of the agriculture minister Saturday. 

Tang Renjian, 61, is under investigation for “serious violations of discipline and law” by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and National Supervisory Commission, CCDI said on its website. 

The term is CCDI’s typical euphemism for corruption. 

The notice gave no further details.