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MAC warns of H5N6 case in Sichuan, China

TAIPEI -- The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) issued a level-2 travel alert for Sichuan Province in China Wednesday 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 MAC said as it raised its travel alert for Sichuan on 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 MAC said.

As Fujian Province in southeastern China has not seen new H7N9 cases for four weeks, the MAC also lowered its watch level for the province that same day 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 2013 in Germany, Sweden and the United States.

The Council of Agriculture detected the virus in 2004 in bird feces at a Taipei nature preserve 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.

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