While highly pathogenic avian influenza infections in birds and humans continue to be a problem in China, the virus has now spread into a group of Bengal tigers at a zoo in China’s Guangxzi province.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) submitted a report on February 25, stating that two tigers were dead after contracting H5N1 avian influenza. Tests conducted earlier in February by the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, an OIE reference laboratory, came back positive for H5N1 avian influenza.

While the OIE reports that the source of the avian influenza outbreak in the tigers is presently not known, the tigers are suspected to have contracted the virus through contact with wild birds.

Six other tamed Bengal tigers at the zoo, which has been identified by Outbreak News Today as the Nanning City Zoo, have been reported as susceptible. No other species of animals at the zoo has been reported to have contracted the avian influenza virus.

The control measures applied so far include the disinfection of the affected premises, dipping, spraying and control of wildlife reservoirs.

OIE stated that it will continue to submit weekly reports on the avian influenza outbreak in tigers until it has been resolved.