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China Restricts Sharing of Bird Flu Samples

Recombinomics Commentary
June 17, 2005

>>  "No unit or person is allowed to dissect poultry or wild animals that have died from disease, or to collect or transport samples without the approval of animal health authorities at the provincial level or above. No unit or person is allowed to collect samples and microbes and ship them overseas without the agriculture ministry's permission." <<

The above directive issued in China appears to be restricting information on the current H5N1 bird flu outbreak at all levels.  The latest outbreak began with a report on 180 dead bar headed geese in Qinghai Lake Nature Reserve.  All reserves in China were closed when China announced that 519 birds had died and were positive for H5N1.  A follow-up news conference indicated over 1000 birds had died, which was unprecedented for H5N1, which usually is not lethal in ducks or geese.  Reports by nine students through Abundant News at indicated that over 8000 birds had died.  Reports indicated that 6 tourists and 121 residents in the area also died.  The government denied that there were human cases and reports indicated that at least 8 of the 9 students had been arrested.

These reports were followed by reports of another outbreak near Tacheng City in Xinjiang province.  Geese on a backyard farm began to die an they too were H5N1 positive.  All of the poultry in the area was culled and the outbreak was said to be contained.

However, reliable source indicated that a pneumonia cluster had developed at Tacheng Hospital.  Both patients and health care workers had been placed in isolation.  These reports fueled speculation that there were significant number so of human H5N1 infections and deaths in Qinghai and Xinjiang provinces.

Now China has announced limits on movement of samples out of China, which is another indication that speculation about widespread efficiently transmitted human infections were being covered up by the government and the dead and infected patients signaled the beginning of phase 6 of the 2005 flu pandemic.

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