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Graphic Photos of Dead and Dying H5N1 Bar Headed Geese

Recombinomics Commentary
June 3, 2005

Abundant News at has photos of 1000's of dead and dying geese on Bird Island in Qinghai China.  The pictures are from a distance and are hard to interpret by an untrained eye.  Close up pictures of a dead and dying bar headed goose, including a dead goose at necropsy, are located here (caution, pictures are graphic).

The wide-angle pictures have few birds that are standing and none that are flying.  There are literally thousands of birds in the two pictures.  The pictures are said to be from May 27.  If so, it seems unlikely that many of the birds in the pictures are alive today.

China has filed a May 21 OIE report detailing the deaths of 519 birds.  These birds were H5N1 positive and the virus was highly pathogenic based on the sequence of the HA cleavage site as well as the ability of the virus to kill chickens under experimental conditions.  Although it is common for H5N1 isolates in Asia to be highly pathogenic, most recent isolates are not pathogenic in waterfowl.  The massive bird flu die-off in and around Qinghai lake Nature Reserve is without precedent.  The reserve is located within the intersection of the East Asia and Central South Asia flyways, which provides and opportunity for additional recombination and widespread dispersal of H5N1 via migrating birds.

Additional reports have cited deaths in several mammalian species, including humans.

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