The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) issued a level 2 travel alert for China’s Sichuan Province yesterday after the southwestern province reported the world’s first recorded human infection of H5N6 avian flu.
Travelers to the area should stay alert and pay attention to personal hygiene, the council said as it raised the travel alert according to its three-level scale.
The move brings Sichuan to the same alert level as Hunan, Anhui, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces, where H7N9 avian flu is still prevalent, the council said.
As Fujian Province in southeastern China has not reported any new H7N9 cases for four weeks, the council lowered its watch level for the province to level 1.
According to China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a 49-year-old man infected with the H5N6 strain died a day earlier in Sichuan.
The man, who died of acute severe pneumonia, was exposed to poultry that died of the avian flu strain, it said.
H5N6 is a low-pathogenic bird-flu virus found between 1984 and last year in Germany, Sweden and the US.
The Council of Agriculture detected the virus in 2004 in bird feces at a Taipei nature reserve that is home to migratory birds, but H5N6 has never been found in locally raised poultry, according to officials of Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control.