China’s Ministry of Agriculture has dismissed a United Nations assessment that a Chinese strain of bird flu, spread by smuggling, played a role in the AI outbreaks in Thailand and Laos, according to local media reports.
Reports from the UN last week indicated that poultry smuggling was the most likely source of the infection.
The China Daily report said customs data showed that China had not exported poultry to Thailand or Laos since 2004. It did not address the possibility of smuggling.
“[The areas] where the virus strain was detected are both very far from the Chinese border,” the official was quoted as saying.
The official also said that more research needed to be done before the source could be confirmed, and that wild birds could also spread the disease.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation said migratory birds could not be to blame because they are not on the move in Southeast Asia this time of year.