- "The bird flu broke out in six towns in Heishan
county which is located on the East Asia-Australia route where migratory
birds used to move. More than 20 magpies and other wild birds were found
dead there, the ministry said.
- Experts believe this outbreak may have been caused by
migratory birds, it said.
- A total of 369,900 family birds within a radius of three
km have been culled and 13.9 million have been vaccinated, the ministry
- The above comments point to the seriousness of the latest
explosion of H5N1 wild bird flu. It is the fourth report out of China
on outbreaks that started between Oct 14 and Oct 26. The outbreaks in
Inner Mongolia, Anhui, Hunan, and Liaoning trace the migration of H5N1
wild bird flu out of Mongolia and southern Russia. The latest report is
the largest, affecting 6 villages. Fatalities among domestic poultry and
wild birds were noted. The prior report on the Hunan outbreak was linked
to a familial cluster that involved a fatality.
- Although China has stated that the human cases in Hunan
tested negative for bird flu, they have no identified an etiological agent
for the fatal pneumonia in the 12 year-old sister or the bronchial pneumonia
in the 9 year-old brother. WHO has asked for additional information. The
9 year old survived, so there should be a rising antibody titer. Confirmation
of a rising antibody titer would generate the first reported H5N1 bird
flu case in China.
- Linkage of a human cluster to this outbreak would be
cause for concern. Media reports have described bird deaths in Guangdong,
but there has been no OIE report. The H5N1 wild bird flu from Qinghai
Lake and Chany Lake share polymorphisms with isolates from Guangdong Province
(Shantou), South Korea, and Japan.
- South Korea has described the recent deaths of 1000 ducks,
but claims the deaths were due to malnourishment. The location of the
outbreaks in China linked to wild birds and the sequence data of the isolates
strongly suggests that H5N1 has already migrated into South Korea and Japan.
The proximity of Liaoning to North Korea is cause for additional concern
- New H5N1 outbreaks in birds and people are also being
reported in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. It is likely that these
outbreaks are also liked to wild bird migrating out of cooler regions in
China, Mongolia, and Russia.
- More reports of H5N1 wild bird infections in China and
southeast Asia are expected.
- © 2005 Recombinomics. All rights reserved.