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 H5N1 Bar Headed Geese Migrate Through Tibet China

Recombinomics Commentary

May 24, 2006

A total of 399 bar-headed geese and ruddy shelducks had died from the virus in outbreaks in Tibet's Naqu district and the Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in neighboring Qinghai province, the agriculture ministry said.

The ministry reported on its website that the outbreaks, which it said had happened 'recently,' were confirmed as the deadly H5N1 virus earlier today.

Although the two outbreaks had occurred in separate locations, they were linked by migration route.

The route also linked the outbreaks to two other recent incidents in the area, the ministry said. According to earlier reports, 123 birds had died in the previous outbreaks.

The above description increases the number of locations central China with H5N1.  Bar-headed geese winter in India and then migrate to Qinghai Lake for the spring.  A year ago China filed a report on 519 dead waterfowl at Qinghai Lake.  The majority of the dead birds were bar-headed geese and the migration pattern is repeating this year, although the reports of H5N1 infections have increased.

These data suggest that H5N1 will retrace its path from last year, but this year the reports are earlier and more widespread.  Russia has also reported outbreaks in the southern Siberia region infected by H5N1 in mid-July last year.

The early citing suggests outbreaks will be more severe next year.  In addition to birds migrating out of India, the widespread H5N1 in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe will bring H5N1 to southern Siberia from these new locations, allowing for more dual infections and more recombination.

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