(PRWEB) December 12, 2005
Bird Flu Beacon (http://www.birdflubeacon.com) tracks the spread of bird flu worldwide, summarizes and archives avian flu news coverage, and offers tips for preventing infection and for protection in case of bird flu infection.
Recently the site posted startling news from Guan Yi, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong. While the Chinese have only reported 5 human deaths from bird flu, Dr. Guan Yi accuses the government of failure to admit the virus is in every corner of the country. He states he has direct evidence of H5N1 viral infection in provinces that have never announced any outbreak.
Only one Chinese lab, which is directly controlled by the government, is officially allowed to conduct bird flu tests, and its findings are not openly shared with foreign experts. Over 100,000 bird flu samples from Chinese provinces have been collected through private sources and tested by Dr. Guan, who accuses the Chinese government of attempting to block his research.
Unauthorized bird flu reporting is prohibited and visits to affected regions tightly restricted. Apple Daily, a Hong Kong newspaper, documented the arrest of a farmer in Anhui province for alerting higher government authorities of an outbreak of more than 2,000 chickens.
Bird Flu Beacon has identified 5 key obstacles to gathering accurate data on avian flu. Now it is adding 4 more to the list:
The government is not doing bird flu surveillance studies.
Farmers may be arrested locally for reporting bird flu infections to higher authorities.
The one Chinese lab doing H5N1 testing is controlled by the government.
Officials giving accurate information may lose their jobs (many did with SARS).
The other key factors are: Farmers in regions with reported infections have their flocks killed. Few people, including doctors, can identify bird flu symptoms. Medical services are almost non-existent in rural areas. The collection, shipment and analysis of blood samples is extremely difficult and expensive. A repeat of reported human outbreaks might lead to widespread panic and economic loss as it did with SARS.
“Failure to track the progress of H5N1 in China is a huge threat to the entire world. China has the largest number of reported outbreaks in birds, is a major point for bird migration, and has the largest population on earth,” said Dr. Shoshana Zimmerman, a founder of Bird Flu Beacon at http://www.birdflubeacon.com/ “The 1918 bird flu pandemic raged out of control, killing 20-50 million people, when the virus was spread through human-to-human contact. Lack of surveillance coupled with news suppression is valid cause to fear a pandemic,” she added.
Bird Flu Beacon reports factual information, thoughtful analysis and bird flu news you can trust at http://www.birdflubeacon.com/ It also features a blog, http://bird-flu-blog.blogspot.com/ which reports news and commentary.
Contact: Laurie Grace at email@example.com or 615.385.8143
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