China still holding back on AI data
According to the world health organization, the
Chinese government is still holding back on vital information about bird flu,
severely hampering the world's ability to fight the disease.
After researchers recently reported the discovery
of the new Fujian-like strain
of the avian
virus, it emerged that the Chinese agriculture ministry has not
yet provided the WHO
samples of this strain. This is in spite of the fact that 95 percent of samples
collected in China between April and June this year were the Fujian-like
The Fujian-like strain is widespread among poultry in China and has caused
human cases there, and has also been detected in poultry flocks in other Asian
countries including Hong Kong, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand.
Julie Hall, an infectious-disease expert at the WHO's Beijing office, said:
'There's a stark contrast between what we're hearing from the researchers and
what the Ministry of Agriculture says. Unless the ministry tells us what`s going
on and shares viruses on a regular basis, we will be doing diagnostics on
strains that are old.'
While the new strain has been linked to human cases of avian influenza and
has doubtlessly taken root in poultry in some Asian countries, there is no sign
that it is more lethal than the existing H5N1 strain.
The WHO's Michael Perdue said, 'If you look at the mortality rate and the
disease, the Fujian-strain infections are no different.'
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