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Scientists differs about cutting off bird flu source by culling all migratory birds

Dec 29, 2005     Email"> PrintText Size

A CAS scientist has voiced a different opinion here on Dec. 28 on cutting off bird flu sources by culling all migratory birds.

"Culling all migratory birds is futile in stemming the spread of the bird flu because the culling would force wild migrants out of their migrating routes and thus enlarge the range of virus dissemination," said Gao Fu, director of the CAS Institute of Microbiology.

Chinese scientists are currently monitoring the migrating routes of wild birds and studying the connection between migrants and poultry along the migrating course, trying to locate the possible regions of the next bird flu outbreak and take further measures to limit the losses to the minimum, said Gao.

When analyzing the misunderstanding towards the "scapegoat" migratory birds, Gao said three of the eight migrating routes in the world have a possible connection with the bird flu outbreak in recent years.

Gao said among the three routes, the Asia-Australia course has provided evidence that birds may spread the virus to the passing countries like Japan, China and some Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam, which reported bird flu outbreaks in 2004. The Republic of Korea reported an outbreak in December 2003.

After the outbreak around northwest China's Qinghai Lake in May 2005, Gao, comparing the flu virus of diseased birds from Qinghai with the virus from Mongolia and north Russia's Novosibirsk, found an affinal relationship between them. He published his research on the U.S.- based Science magazine.

However, Gao argued, it's insufficient to put all the blame on migratory birds.

Some Asian countries suffered the pandemic simultaneously in February and March 2004 when wild migrants were enjoying winter in southeastern Asia. "Theoretically the birds could not have spread the virus to the outbreak countries at the same time," said Gao.

"The import of poultry or poultry products can also pass the virus and the hypothesis that wild birds are to blame is groundless," said Gao, adding that wild birds occasionally have contact with infected poultry and die.

He said, whether the poultry pass the H5N1 virus to migratory birds or the birds pass it to the poultry still needs further serology studies.

A Chinese scientist has voiced a different opinion here on Wednesday on cutting off bird flu sources by culling all migratory birds.

"Culling all migratory birds is futile in stemming the spread of the bird flu because the culling would force wild migrants out of their migrating routes and thus enlarge the range of virus dissemination," said Gao Fu, a research fellow with the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Chinese scientists are currently monitoring the migrating routes of wild birds and studying the connection between migrants and poultry along the migrating course, trying to locate the possible regions of the next bird flu outbreak and take further measures to limit the losses to the minimum, said Gao.

When analyzing the misunderstanding towards the "scapegoat" migratory birds, Gao said three of the eight migrating routes in the world have a possible connection with the bird flu outbreak in recent years.

Gao said among the three routes, the Asia-Australia course has provided evidence that birds may spread the virus to the passing countries like Japan, China and some Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Vietnam, which reported bird flu outbreaks in 2004. The Republic of Korea reported an outbreak in December 2003.

After the outbreak around northwest China's Qinghai Lake in May 2005, Gao, comparing the flu virus of diseased birds from Qinghai with the virus from Mongolia and north Russia's Novosibirsk, found an affinal relationship between them. He published his research on the U.S.- based Science magazine.

However, Gao argued, it's insufficient to put all the blame on migratory birds.

Some Asian countries suffered the pandemic simultaneously in February and March 2004 when wild migrants were enjoying winter in southeastern Asia. "Theoretically the birds could not have spread the virus to the outbreak countries at the same time," said Gao.

"The import of poultry or poultry products can also pass the virus and the hypothesis that wild birds are to blame is groundless," said Gao, adding that wild birds occasionally have contact with infected poultry and die.

He said, whether the poultry pass the H5N1 virus to migratory birds or the birds pass it to the poultry still needs further serology studies. (Xinhua)

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