Wuhan Institute of Virology
in central China tested excrement samples from 38 sparrows after an outbreak of bird flu
in a county in Henan Province in 2004. Some of samples tested positive of H5N1 virus, said Li Tianxian, a researcher with the institute.
Chinese officials have in the past blamed outbreaks of bird flu in the country on migratory birds, but the findings indicate that the virus could also be among local birds common in urban areas.
In late September and early October, China reported two new outbreaks of bird flu in poultry, which killed at least 2,000 domestic fowl in Inner Mongolia and Ningxia Hui. The quarantine imposed on Inner Mongolia
where the outbreak occurred was lifted this week.