Citing a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture, Foreign Ministry
spokesman Liu Jianchao yesterday refuted reports that a new strain of bird flu
has emerged in southern China.
An article in Tuesday's issue of the US-based Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences (www.pnas.org) said a new
strain of the H5N1 bird flu virus, called the "Fujian-like virus," because it
was first found in Fujian Province, has emerged in southern China and become
prevalent in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Laos, Malaysia, and
News of the new virus was widely reported in foreign media.
Quoting the statement, Liu said: "China has noticed recent publications by
some foreign academic publications about the bird flu situation in southern
China, but their claims are totally different from the real situation.
"Since 2004, China has been keeping a close eye on the bird flu situation in
its southern regions.
"Gene sequence analysis shows that all the variants of the virus found in
southern China share high uniformity, meaning they all belong to the same gene
"No distinctive change was found in their biological characteristics."
In response to accusations from WHO experts that China is reluctant to share
information and samples of bird flu, the statement said: "China has always
actively participated in the prevention and control of bird flu and has
maintained good co-operative relations with international organizations, and
shares with the international community all the latest developments in the bird
flu situation and virus information in the country in a timely manner."