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H5N1 Bird Flu Reappears in Xinjiang China
June 7, 2006
China has confirmed a fresh outbreak of the H5N1 bird flu virus among poultry in the western region of Xinjiang, the official Xinhua News agency reported on Thursday.
It said that the Ministry of Agriculture had confirmed on Wednesday that poultry on a farm in Hetian country had died from the bird flu virus.
The detection of H5N1 on a farm in Xinjiang repeats the sequence of events in 2005. In 2005, the initial H5N1 outbreak was primarily in bar headed geese at Qinghai Lake in May. That was followed by two outbreaks on farms in Xinjiang in June.
This year there was 1 H5N1 positive bar headed goose identified at Qingahi Lake, but much larger numbers of infected birds were in southern Qinghai Province as well as Tibet in May, and now there is an outbreak in southern Xiniang in June. The outbreaks in 2006 are somewhat south of the 2005 outbreaks, but the sequence of events involving bar headed geese in May followed by poultry deaths in June are the same.
Last year the birds in Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Tibet were vaccinated. It is not clear f the current outbreak is in vaccinated birds or unvaccinated birds.
The data from India indicating a closer relationship between H5N1 from two distinct outbreaks suggests the 2006 H5N1 Qinghai strain has evolved and there are two distinct H5N1 strains circulating in India. Wild birds in India migrate north to China in the spring and the summer in southern Siberia at nature reserves such as Chany Lake.
However, there are already outbreaks of H5N1 in these areas, suggesting the outbreaks in 2006 may be larger than those of 2005.
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