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Bird Flu Vaccinations in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture

Recombinomics Commentary
May 23, 2005

>>  The Chinese government has immediately allocated 3 million doses of avian flu vaccine to inoculate the domestic birds in the province……

Dang said that the province now has roughly 3 million home-bred poultry, mostly in Haidong district and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. <<

In response to the H5N1 infected bar-headed geese that died at the beginning of this month, China is vaccinating poultry in the region and the Tibetan Autonomous Region which is predominantly west of the Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve, where the dead birds were found.

The bar-headed geese winter in the northern plains of India, and fly over the Himalayas and the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture to breed in the nature reserve.  The birds can fly the 1000 miles in a single day, suggesting that the H5N1 infection may have originated in India. In addition, the H5N1 infected crested eagle smuggled into Belgium from Thailand originated in Tibet.

At the beginning of May, there was an outbreak of meningitis and meningococcemia in New Delhi in northern India.  Over 300 people have been hospitalized, and meningitis is a secondary infection of influenza.  If these patients are H5N1 positive, it will signal an evolution of the 2005 flu pandemic from phase 5 to an early phase 6.  The case fatality rate is around 10%, half of the rate in northern Vietnam, where human-to-human transmission of H5N1 is becoming more efficient.

A broad screening of geese and people in New Delhi and the northern plains of India is long overdue.  In February there were mysterious deaths in people, pigs, and peacocks in the Uttar Predesh region in northern India that were also not adequately explained.

An extensive screening in India is required to help determine if the 2005 flu pandemic has entered the final phase.

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