Sixth bird flu death in China: state media

A sixth person has died of the H7N9 strain of bird flu in China, state media said Friday, after authorities carried out a cull of poultry at a Shanghai market where the virus has been detected.

The 64-year-old farmer died in Huzhou, in China's eastern province of Zhejiang, local officials said according to the official Xinhua news agency.

He is thought to be among the 14 human cases of H7N9 that were previously confirmed, and is the second person from Zhejiang to die from the H7N9 virus, with the other four fatalities coming from the commercial hub of Shanghai.

Authorities in Shanghai are also monitoring a person who had been in close contact with one of the dead, who is being treated for flu-like symptoms.

The poultry cull was carried out at a market in a western suburb of Shanghai following the discovery of the virus in pigeon samples.

State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported Friday that health ministry officials were meeting with agricultural personnel to draw up an action plan aimed at "preventing the spreading of the disease".