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August 16, 2006

Chinese H5N1 in 2003

The Guardian Unlimited has a good article on the implications of today's confirmation of a 2003 Chinese case of human H5N1: Experts predict more Chinese bird flu cases.

Meanwhile The Standard, a Hong Kong business paper, has an interesting response:

Lo Wing-lok, an infectious disease expert in Hong Kong, said this incident was a reminder that the mainland needed to be honest and more forthcoming with information.

Experts in Hong Kong have long insisted that the virus has always been present in the mainland, but authorities have denied that. Even after several members of a Hong Kong family contracted the virus in Fujian in February 2003, information about the incident was supressed.

"If it had been more forthcoming, so much more could have been done for the rest of the world. But now the virus has spread to three continents," Lo said.

first I've heard about a "Fujian incident," so I've just googled "Hong Kong family" plus "H5N1 2003" and got over 250 hits—including a couple of mentions on Recombinomics. Here's what New Scientist had to say in a timeline about bird flu:
February 2003

Hong Kong family gets flu while visiting Fujian, China, and three die. H5N1 virus descended from the goose in Guangdong is isolated from two of the victims

a couple of additional links: Science Magazine, 7 March 2003; Eurosurveillance Weekly 27 February 2003. Note that the number of fatalities in these very brief reports is either two or three.

My education continues.

Posted by dymaxion at August 16, 2006 10:35 PM

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