Time to panic?

Considering the Chinese government’s record of dealing with public health issues (SARS!), I had been wondering about all these reassurances from Chinese officials that “Everything is OK. Don’t worry. Just a couple of dead birds …”

But if there is no reason to be alarmed, why has China rushed to shut down all its national parks, sealed off Lake Qinghai, and ordered the vaccination of millions of poultry across vast areas of western China?
China bird flu could ’cause mayhem’ BBC News

This commentary at Recombinomics paints a scary picture of what may really be going on in western China: a phase 6 pandemic of H5N1!

Reports coming out of Qinghai suggest H5N1 infections in humans and birds are out of control, with birds distributing H5N1 to the north and west, while people are being cremated and told to keep quiet.

Reports from Chinese language papers detail over 200 suspected infections in over two dozen locations in Qinghai Province. In the most affected 18 regions, there are 121 deaths, generating a case fatality rate above 60%.
Final Phase 6 Bird Flu Pandemic in Qinghai China?

The folks at Effect Measure are also worried about the situation in Qinghai, but they don’t think that a news blackout has been imposed:

It is too soon to jump to conclusions about what is happening here. The suggestion there has been a news blackout is worrisome. China is especially sensitive about such charges because of the SARS episode so I think this is unlikely, but we just don’t know at the moment. We will keep our eye on this.

I think it is time that the Chinese government provides some clear, credible evidence of what is going on in Qinghai. The implications of a highly infections virus on the loose with a human death-rate of 60 percent (or higher) is not a Chinese problem. It’s a global problem.

Comments are closed.