Bird flu struck Fujian province recently, leading to the destruction of about 10,000 ducks and chickens, farmers said. Bird and animal quarantine authorities at Putian - south of the provincial capital, Fuzhou - ordered the slaughter in late August. Some people in the area had been afraid to eat poultry, or even eggs, residents said. Journalists in Fujian said they had seen internal government documents on the outbreak, but had been instructed not to make the information public. Putian newspapers reported an unspecified disease among ducks, but the national media failed to cover the issue. 'The problem was with ducks, but they destroyed chickens as well,' said a chicken farmer on the city's outskirts. Officials at two slaughterhouses in Putian confirmed health officials had ordered the culling of chickens and ducks in the area, but they were unsure of the extent of the measures. 'The problem is under control now,' one official said. But residents said the loss of business was substantial. A hotel employee in Putian said people were unwilling to eat chicken, ducks, or even eggs. 'This went on for over a month,' the employee said. China routinely denies it has outbreaks of bird or swine flu. Hong Kong banned imports from the mainland in May after discovering bird flu in imported poultry. It culled more than 1.2 million chickens, ducks and geese. In 1997, a strain of the H5N1 influenza was transmitted to humans and led to six deaths in the SAR. More than a million birds were destroyed. Shanghai and neighbouring Jiangsu province have been hit with foot and mouth disease in recent years. A Health Ministry official in Beijing has said privately that China has had its own strain of mad-cow disease, but did not give details. Shanghai recently ordered the tattooing of all pigs brought to market in the city to indicate they had received proper vaccinations. There was no indication of what type of bird flu led to the slaughter in Fujian, and there were no reports that any humans were affected. Quarantine officials in Putian denied any problem. 'This is not true. Don't believe any of those rumours,' an official said.