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Chinese Officials Report Second Case of Bird Flu in Northwest China

Chinese health officials report the second case of bird flu amongst wild migratory geese in Qinghai Province, northwestern China. Qinghai lies under a major bird migratory route and has experienced av
( [email protected] ) May 06, 2006 01:41 AM EDT

Chinese health officials report the second case of bird flu amongst wild migratory geese in Qinghai Province, northwestern China.

Qinghai lies under a major bird migratory route and has experienced avian flu outbreaks since May last year.

The provincial ministry of agriculture reported one goose dead in Gangcha County on Monday, in contrast to seventeen bar-headed geese found dead on April 23 in a remote area of Yushu County.

A total of 123 birds have died, though the location of the deaths was not in an inhabited area where domesticated birds lived. Qinghai agricultural authorities announced they have taken precautions, disinfecting and quarantining the area.

Often known as H5N1, the bird flu has claimed more than 110 lives since it resurfaced as a health hazard mainly in Asia in 2003.

The Center of Disease Control, based in the U.S. city of Atlanta, fears the virus will mutate and become easily transmissible to humans, as reflected in the voices of other organizations.

“We need to pray for a vaccine and treatment. The key method is the global approach …to prevent it from happening,” says Dr. Lih-Chenh Chen, USA director of Medical Services International (MSI), a medical-missions organization that often sends teams to China.

Chen added that he believes the avian flu will not pose as much a serious threat as compared to the AIDS virus, which has been particularly devastating especially in China’s southwest border near Yunnan province.

“The flu has so far killed few chickens compared to the billions of chickens running around in China,” said Chen, whose organization was co-founded by James Hudson Taylor III, grandson of famed China missions pioneer James Hudson Taylor.

He added that the few people who have been infected in China were mainly those working in the poultry business.

No one was available to answer the phone at the MSI China office in Kunming city, in the southwestern province of Yunnan.

The most recent case for a human infected with the H5N1 virus involved an 8-year-old girl was diagnosed with the sickness, April 27,

China has reported 18 human cases of bird flu so far, though some observers suspect that Beijing has downplayed the actual number of cases. 12 of the reported cases have resulted in deaths.