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Over 1000 Bird Flu Deaths in Qinghai China

Recombinomics Commentary
May 27, 2005

>> More than 1,000 migratory birds have died of avian flu in western China, but no human cases of the disease have been found, the country's chief veterinary official said Friday.

The dead birds were found in Qinghai province and included bar-headed geese and great black-headed gulls, Jia Youling, director of the Ministry of Agriculture's Veterinary Bureau, said at a press conference. On Thursday, the ministry said 519 dead bar-headed geese and other birds had been found in a nature reserve. Jia did not say where the other birds were found. <<

The number of dead birds has been updated several times this month, so it is unclear if the increasing numbers are due to recent deaths or due to a more thorough surveillance.  Initial reports indicated 178 bar head geese had died over a short time frame at the beginning of the month.  The birds were said to have not died because of bird flu and the only dead birds were bar headed geese.

In an OIE report dated May 21, five species including bar-headed goose (Anser indicus), great black-headed gull (Larus ichthyaetus), brown-headed gull (Larus brunnicephalus), ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea) and great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) were listed.  The number of reported dead birds was 519.  The cause of death was H5N1 based on lab and clinical data.  The outbreak was estimated to have begun April 15 and the birds were found in Niannaisuoma village, Quanji town, Gangcha county, Qinqhai province.

The outbreak of the dead birds overlapped in time and location with reported deaths in people who had links to the Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve.  Reports included deaths of 121 people in 18 villages in the area, as well as additional suspect cases in more distant locations.

Details on the new bird deaths would be useful as would details on the age, gender, and cause of death of the reported 121 human cases.

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