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Avian influenza H5N6 (bird flu) in China

05 Oct 2021

The Hong Kong Department of Health reports there have been 21 cases of H5N6 bird flu in China in 2021. The 2 most recent cases were reported in Guangxi and Chongqing on 30 September 2021. Other areas reporting cases this year are Guangdong Province, Hunan Province, Sichuan Province, Anhui Province and Guizhou Province.

H5N6 can cause severe illness and death, but is not easily spread among people.

Advice for Travellers

Avian influenza (bird flu) is an influenza virus that spreads among birds. Rarely, the virus can spread to people who have had close contact with infected birds.

If you are travellling to a country where avian influenza has caused human disease, you should be aware of the potential risk of infection.

In particular, you should avoid contact with:

  • live chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, quail or any wild birds
  • surfaces that might have had bird droppings on
  • commercial or backyard bird farms, or live bird markets
  • sick or dead birds

The virus is killed by thorough cooking of bird meat and eggs. You should avoid:

  • eating raw or undercooked bird meat or food containing bird blood
  • bringing birds or their meat, back into the UK

Care should be taken if you are handling raw or undercooked bird products. You should:

  • maintain strict hand hygiene; particularly when preparing food, and before meals
  • practise good respiratory hygiene measures and avoid close contact with people who appear unwell
  • seek medical advice if you develop respiratory/influenza-like symptoms during or after returning from countries where avian influenza has been reported

See the fitfortravel Avian Influenza and Avian Influenza travel advice pages for further information.