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H5N1 Bird Flu Migrates to Ningxia China

Recombinomics Commentary

July 1, 2006

China has found the H5N1 avian influenza virus in birds in the northwestern region of Ningxia, the Agriculture Ministry said, suggesting a fresh outbreak.

The National Bird Flu Reference Laboratory identified the virus on Thursday in samples taken from the town of Xuanhe in Ningxia's Zhongwei city, the ministry said late on Friday on its Web site (

The above confirmed H5N1 bird flu outbreak in China provides additional evidence of an expanded H5N1 presence.  The Qinghai strain of H5N1 was first noted at Qinghai Lake in May, 2005.  This outbreak was followed by outbreaks on farms in northwest Xinjiang province in June, and outbreaks in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia that were initially reported in mid-July in the region around Chany Lake.

This year there are more reports at the locations from 2005 as well as nearby regions.  H5N1 appeared at Qinghai Lake almost exactly on year after the initial outbreak.  However, much large outbreaks were reported in southern Qinghai Province as well as the adjacent area in northern Tibet.  These locations are about 300 miles southwest of  Qinghai Lake.  The Ningxia outbreak above is near the Inner Mongolian board and about 200 miles northeast of Qinghai Lake.  This outbreak was preceded by an outbreak in Shanxi, about 500 miles east of Qinghai Lake as well as Xinjiang Province again..

In addition to the outbreaks in China, Russia has reported outbreaks near Chany Lake again as well as adjacent Tomsk, but there is also a major die-off to the east in Tuva and across the southern border in northern Mongolia.  A recent presentation on bird flu in Qinghai showed that the 2006 isolates were most closely related to isolates in Novosibirsk and Mongolia.  As this H5N1 migrates further north, new H5N1 from earlier infections in China, southeast Asia, India, Africa, Middle East, and Europe, will converge in southern Siberia, which additional recombination will generate new gene sequences.

Thus, the widespread reports of H5N1 in the spring suggest movement of H5N1 in the fall will generate significant problems

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