May 26, 2005

This may not be good news.

From New Scientist's news wire:

Chinese officials have denied media reports that H5N1 bird flu has killed more than a 100 people in the west of the country.

A web-based Chinese-language news service called Boxun (Abundant News), which allows correspondents to freely post information on its site, reported on 25 May that 121 people in 18 villages in the sparsely-settled western province of Qinghai have died of bird flu, and more are ill. Some 1300 people, have been isolated, it reports.

But on Thursday the official Xinhua news agency denied any human infections with H5N1 bird flu in the region. No unexplained pneumonia or flu among people who had contact with birds that carried H5N1 has been reported, it says. An expert team was dispatched to Qinghai soon after the strain was confirmed in wild geese at a nature reserve...

The reports say that sick people in the border region between Qinghai and the neighbouring, impoverished province of Gansu had visited the nature reserve where the birds were found. But they also report that there have been large scale outbreaks of unexplained deaths among livestock in the area.

New Scientist cautions that there's no way at this point to judge the accuracy of the Boxun report. However, the magazine also reminds readers that the Chinese government denied that there were cases of SARS in Beijing, when it was later determined that there had been.

Xinhua's denial of the Boxun report is here.

Posted by Magpie at May 26, 2005 06:41 PM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | Technorati links |

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