A suspected outbreak of bird flu in poultry farms in Guangzhou was confirmed by the Ministry of Agriculture on Sunday, the South China Morning Post reported. The ministry said it had found traces of a virus similar to the H5N1 strain in dead ducks following the sudden deaths of 9,800 ducks in the city's Panyu district last week. Initial tests were carried out by the Guangdong Provincial Animal Disease Prevention and Control Center and further results are still to come from the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory. As of Friday, 32,600 ducks had been culled in the area to contain a potential outbreak. However, a spokesman for the Panyu district government said that experts from Guangzhou had ruled out bird flu as a possible cause of the deaths. He said the ducks died from "normal duck disease."
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