The first known case of the A(H5N1) strain of avian influenza was found in 1996 in a goose in China. While the Chinese government insists that no poultry in the country has the disease now, Hong Kong University scientists who have studied the genetic evolution of the virus wrote in the journal Nature in July that infected migratory birds in western China appeared to have contracted the disease in southern China; the virus has since spread from western China to East Asia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Romania.
Chinese health authorities in Beijing have called repeatedly for national vigilance against the disease. But they have refused to share virus samples from infected, wild birds this year with international organizations and have quarreled with researchers who have suggested that the disease remains a problem.
Originally posted by Atomix
Oh crap, I was in Australia a few weeks back. We landed at Malaysia for a day. Thats close to China right?!? Knew I shouldn't have gone.... Oh great now Im paranoid!
It happened last year in China with the SARS epidemic, and earlier with AIDS. In both cases, the first reaction of Chinese officials was to hide the truth, pretending that the outbreaks were relatively mild and insignificant. In both cases, the cover-up continued until Beijing finally bowed to intense international pressure and began disclosing the frightening depth of its crises. Now some observers worry that Beijing might be concealing the extent of the avian-flu outbreak to avoid the embarrassment and economic costs of the true situation.
Thursday, at their first news conference since the bird-flu outbreak erupted last month, Chinese health and agriculture officials were peppered with questions about a suspected coverup of the bird-flu outbreak. Reporters asked how Beijing could continue to claim that no humans were infected with bird flu, with more than 56,000 birds infected in chicken farms in almost half of the provinces.
They asked whether anyone would be fired for concealing the disease, and whether an inquiry would be held.
And they asked why Beijing continues to ban foreign journalists from any of the infected regions.
WHO and FAO kept in dark on bird flu virus found in pigs in China
UN health and agriculture officials in China said they were not informed by
the government of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus being found in pigs, the
first such discovery in the world.
The surprising revelation was made by China's National Avian Influenza
Reference Laboratory director Chen Hualan during a symposium on the SARS
and bird flu diseases.
Chen said bird flu had been detected in pigs in several places in China in
2003 and thus far in 2004. She was speaking during a presentation at the
International Symposium on the Prevention and Control of SARS and Avian Flu.
Officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said it was the first they had heard of
the development, which could have serious implications in the disease
becoming more easily transmittable from animals to humans.
The WHO immediately asked the FAO to seek confirmation from China's
Ministry of Agriculture, its spokesman in China Roy Wadia told AFP. Chen
said the virus in pigs was first detected in 2003, raising concerns that
China still may not be as forthcoming as it should be. This is despite
promising to keep international health agencies well-informed after being
criticized for covering up an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
last year. "Ideally the communication would be in a transparent and timely
manner," Wadia said.
"I want to direct your attention toward avian flu, an issue that, given its scope and potential consequences, receives very little attention both in the traditional press and blogosphere. I've been following this for some time, basically the World Health Organization is doing everything NOT to raise the alert level from stage 3 to stage 5 or 6, and has tried to explain away clear cases of human-to-human transmission (these cases mean we're at Stage 5 at least). There are also LOTS of rumors China is covering up an outbreak of Stage 6 human-to-human bird flu. China has been completely uncooperative with the WHO, refuses to let out most medical samples, and has even threatened epidemiologists. Nevertheless, the few published samples available from China (obtained from dead birds in Qinghai) all have genetic traits of strains that infect mammals, including humans. The worry is that these samples come from a major nexus in bird migration routes, meaning that this dangerous virus will soon be dispersed throughout Eurasia (it's already popping up in Russia)."
Originally posted by FredT
Soficrow you US bashing has reached new lows (congrats I guess)
Ets etc etc. So Its hardly "Damage Control" No I do realize that just about everything you post is a rant against the US and the like, but maybe taking off thos blinders will see the big picture on this one. The bottom line is China has systematical tried to cover up the outbreaks. May be sitting on confirmed h2h transmissions, Organization like the WHO had a hard time getting them to cooperate etc.