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H5N1 in Russia Kazakhstan and Mongolia?
June 8, 2005
>> Location of the outbreak: Xinjiang autonomous region,Tacheng district, Tacheng city.
Description of affected population: geese.
Total number of animals in the outbreak:
destroyed: 13,457 <<
Today's OIE report from China demonstrates how quickly the H5N1 infections are spreading. On May 21, the OIE report detailed 519 dead waterfowl (5 species) in and around Gangcha County and Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve. The birds were killed by H5N1 that was HPAI ( Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza) base on the sequence of the HA cleavage site as well as a biological assay showing that isolated virus could kill laboratory infected chickens.
Vaccines were rushed to Qinghai Province as well as Xinjiang to try to control the spread by waterfowl. All nature reserves in China were closed and the outbreak was said to be limited to wild birds. However, today's report includes the biological assay, suggesting China knew of this outbreak 1-2 weeks ago and this outbreak clearly affects domestic geese.
China had indicated other provinces in China were not threatened, but that was because the birds were migrating to the north and west, toward Russia and Europe.
Today's report indicates the outbreak was in Tacheng city, which is on the border with Kazakhstan and only about 100 miles from borders with Mongolia and Russia. Tacheng city is almost 1000 miles west of Qinghai Lake. Since today's OIE report includes the biological assay which includes isolating, growing, and infecting the virus into chickens and then waiting for the chickens to die, it seems likely that H5N1 has already moved into the three adjacent countries.
None of the three adjacent countries have previously reported H5N1 HPAI (bird flu). The rapid movement of H5N1 to the north and west is cause for concern.
Although China has promptly notified OIE of the wild and domestic bird deaths, it has not provided any specific data on the reported human or other mammalian deaths.