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Migratory Birds Target Taiwan

Recombinomics Commentary

August 10, 2005

Lin Hui-wen, chairman of the ROC Migratory Bird Association, says that starting in August or September, Taiwan will play host to thirty or forty species of migratory birds, with the number of individuals rising into the tens of thousands. These birds fly in from western Siberia to spend the winter in Taiwan. Species include the greenshank, the wood sandpiper, the black-winged stilt, and the Eurasian curlew.

Lin says that birds from western Siberia that come to Taiwan to spend the winter mostly go to southern or central Taiwan, and mostly stay until March or April of the following year. Qinghai Lake is an important breeding ground for the migratory birds of Southeast Asia and western Siberia, and in theory, there is really no means of eliminating the possibility that migratory birds at the lake infected with the H5N1 virus might pass it on to birds from Siberia, which would then carry it to Taiwan.

The above description begins to show the problems associated with HPAI H5N1 in migratory birds at Qinghai Lake or Chany Lake. The reports of dead geese on farms create a migratory path of H5N1.  Initial reports were at Qinghai Lake, but those repots were followed by outbreaks in Xinjiang in June and adjacent Kazakhstan, Siberia, and Mongolia in July.  Now the migration paths are radiating out from the summer reserves as the birds migrate west to Europe and south toward southeastern China and southeast Asia.

Reports of dead birds in central and southern Mongolia indicate the H5N1 is now re-entering China and will head toward Taiwan as described above.

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