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Avian flu was discovered in western China when the United States was fighting an outbreak of rinderpest

Avian flu was discovered in western China when the United States was fighting an outbreak of rinderpest

Avian influenza has been confirmed in wild birds in western China, the Agriculture Ministry said on Saturday, raising concerns about an outbreak affecting livestock herds in the United States.

In two counties of Qinghai province, 275 cases of H5 influenza have been confirmed in dead Pallas's bulls and other wild birds, China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in an announcement on its website.

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

Outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu in dairy cows in at least nine US states since late March have raised questions about whether it could spread to humans. No such cases have been reported till date.

The United States announced on May 11 that it would spend nearly $200 million to fight the outbreak.

News of the cases in China came as the country's anti-fraud agency announced a corruption probe into the agriculture minister on Saturday. (Reporting by Colin Howe; Editing by William Mallard)

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