At least 4,500 chickens have been killed at a farm in Shaoyang, in the southern province of Hunan, after an outbreak of the highly pathogenic strain of H5N1 avian influenza – which can be passed to humans.
Almost 18,000 chickens have been culled and disposed of by authorities in a bid to contain the viral infection.
Officials say the farm where the outbreak occurred was home to 7,850 chickens and has now been sealed off and sterilised.
According to the World Health Organisation, human cases of H5N1 occur occasionally, but the virus does not infect humans easily.
People cam become infected by having close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments.