Martin W

Puzzling – after no evidence of H5N1 on wintering grounds of bar-headed geese – and disturbing report:

The Ministry of Agriculture on Friday confirmed another case of bird flu outbreak among wild birds in a remote area of Northwest China’s Qinghai Province.

Seventeen bar-headed geese were found dead on a wetland in Yushu County on April 23.

The number of dead wild birds had risen to 125 by Thursday, of which 123 were bar-headed geese, the ministry said on its website.

The national bird flu laboratory on Wednesday confirmed the dead birds were tested positive for the H5N1 strain, a highly contagious virus strain that had killed 12 people in the country.

The place where the outbreak happened is a high and cold area, located more than 800 kilometres away from Xining, the provincial capital, and Qinghai Lake, which is an important habitant of a vast number of migrant birds.

Yushu County, the nearest human residential area, is also more than 60 kilometres away.

The county only has sparse population and no domestic poultries are fed nearby, said the ministry.

No bird flu outbreak was reported in the province’s domestic fowls.

The province’s veterinary departments has sterilized the area and is keeping a close eye on any new cases, said the ministry.

Nearby livestock have been transferred to summer pastures far from the outbreak location.

Local authorities have demanded local herdsmen keep a distance from the dead birds to prevent the virus from contaminating human beings.

The outbreak is the second case found in the province in a month after a dead bar-headed goose in Gangcha County was found carrying the deadly virus last Saturday.

Outbreak of new bird flu cases in Qinghai confirmed