About 1,500 geese and ducks have been culled in the Xinjiang city of Changji after 63 birds died from a new outbreak of avian flu, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported yesterday. A Ministry of Agriculture report sent to the FAO yesterday said a national veterinary laboratory identified the deadly H5N1 virus as the cause of the outbreak on Monday, making it the third confirmed outbreak on the mainland this year. Noureddin Mona, the FAO's Beijing-based representative to China, Mongolia and North Korea, said the poultry killed included 128 geese and ducks confirmed to have been infected, and others suspected of infection. 'The ministry report says local authorities have taken several measures to stamp out the outbreak,' Dr Mona said. 'The stricken area is prohibited. Disinfection and emergency vaccination has been widely adopted.' Dr Mona said the ministry report did not say when the outbreak started, but that the situation was now under control. No cases of human infection have been reported. Earlier this month, 460 out of 1,042 infected geese died from the H5N1 virus strain in Tacheng , also in Xinjiang, prompting authorities to cull 13,000 geese and ducks. Exports of live birds and poultry meat from Xinjiang to Hong Kong have been halted since the declaration of the outbreak. More than 1,000 migratory birds, mainly bar-headed geese and some gulls in Qinghai , were also confirmed to have died last month from the H5N1 strain. A local veterinarian said the birds' migratory habits meant the epidemic was difficult to bring under control.