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Over 8000 Bird Flu Deaths in Gangcha County Qinghai China?
June 2, 2005
spot headed geese 5412
brown headed gulls 641
fishing gulls 1064
red beaked diving ducks 121
red feet ducks 34
ring neck birds 23
swallow gulls 12
white-headed crane 6
Phoenix headed bird 11
black neck crane 2
raincoat feather crane 1
badger dog 6
desert (wild) cat 11
Some infected domestically raised animals or destroyed domestic animals owned by herdsmenl
The above edited machine translated list of animal deaths linked to H5N1 bird flu in and around the Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve in Gangcha County is more than 10 fold higher than the official report of May 21 by China to the OIE. In the May 21 report, there were 519 dead birds, 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). A news conference indicated the number of dead birds was greater than 1000, which was unprecedented.
The latest report, which is not confirmed, details the death of over 8000 birds. This unofficial report is quite specific and contains more detail than the official OIE report, which lists the total number of birds and species, without a further breakdown.
The updated report is alarming in many respects. It would seem that the number of dead birds and species is steadily increasing. The report also includes a small number of mammalian carnivores, which may have died from eating infected birds.
However, the report also lists domestic animals such as cows and sheep. It is not clear if these deaths are somehow linked to the reported foot and mouth outbreaks in China, or if the cows and sheep represent an expanded host range of H5N1. If the host range has expanded to cows and sheep, then it seems that human deaths are likely. Earlier reports detailed 121 human cases and 79 additional infections.
The specifics of these reports have not been addressed by the blanket denials by China. In addition, there has not been any mention of deaths in domestic animals.
The detail in the unofficial reports requires specific confirmations or denials. WHO phone calls and e-mails to China who have denied reports are not sufficient, nor are the WHO comments that they have no reason not to believe the official reports from China.