The Guangdong provincial authorities of
agriculture and health yesterday denied foreign researchers claims
that the southern province is the source of the dangerous H5N1
avian flu virus.
"The findings, which say Guangdong is the source of multiple
avian flu virus strains spreading both regionally and
internationally, are the wrong conclusion to the evidence and lack
credibility," He Xia, a spokeswoman for the Guangdong Provincial
Agricultural Department, told China Daily.
The claim that Guangdong has given birth to bird flu was made by
a research team from the University of California Irvine, and
published in US journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of
The findings are based on samples of the virus taken from across
China and Russia, and appear to show that the basic version of the
virus is a form seen in Guangdong.
They also appear to show that northwest China's Qinghai Province is another source of bird
The recent findings came after another study, conducted by a
joint team of foreign and Chinese researchers, published in the
same journal early in February last year.
The findings last year also indicated that the nationwide spread
of bird flu grew out of Guangdong in 1996.
"Actually, Guangdong did not witness any bird flu cases in 1996.
As a result, the findings are not based on facts," said He.
Yu Dewen, spokesman with the Guangdong Provincial Health
Department, added that so far no official research has indicated
that bird flu originated in Guangdong.
Farmer still critical
Meanwhile, the farmer from Jian'ou in east China's Fujian Province who contracted bird flu late
last month remained in a critical condition yesterday.
The 44-year-old woman, surnamed Li, is being treated at the
Jian'ou City Hospital where medical specialists are doing
everything they can to save her, said Yu Jian, mayor of Jian'ou, a
county-level city in northeastern Fujian.
Yu addressed a panel of experts from international organizations
attending a forum in Jian'ou on Monday.
Panel members include Chin-Kei Lee, representative of World
Health Organization (WHO) to China, Xu Zhen, the coordinator to
WHO's representative to China, and Guo Fusheng, representative from
the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations
In another development, poultry from a market in Lhasa, capital
of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, have been found to be
infected with the bird flu virus, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)
The birds had died in the market on March 1 and tests for the H5
virus by the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory were
positive, according to the information office of the MOA.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency March 7, 2007)