GUANGZHOU: 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 Sciences.
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
They also appear to show that Northwest China's Qinghai Province is another
source of bird flu.
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
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
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 going all out 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 to China.
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) announced yesterday.
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.
Xinhua contributed to the story