China Defends Bird Flu Vaccination Plan Despite Deaths

Following the World Health Organization’s statement that there was “no evidence of [a bird flu] epidemic,” China’s Ministry of Agriculture has stated that there have been no bird flu-related outbreaks since last June. In last January alone, however, there have been at least five bird flu-related deaths. More from Lucy Hornby of Reuters:

Apart from the discovery of a case during routine sampling in eastern China’s Jiangsu province in December, Chinese testing has not detected any bird flu since June.

The Ministry of Agriculture said in a report on its website [in Chinese] that the strain found in Jiangsu was a variant, requiring the modification of the vaccine programme in the surrounding provinces of Zhejiang, Shanghai, Anhui and Shandong.

Meanwhile, two ducks and a goose found in Hong Kong have tested positive for H5N1, the strain of bird flu that can infect humans. Hong Kong closed its Mai Po nature preserve as a precaution for 21 days from Friday, after a dead grey heron found there also tested positive for bird flu.

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