Flu Taiwan brands China bird flu danger zone

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by E.L., Feb 22, 2006.

  1. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member


    TAIPEI, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian said on Tuesday a lack of transparency in China made it possibly the world's most dangerous hot spot for bird flu and a black hole in the global campaign against a pandemic.

    China reported its eighth death from bird flu last Friday, bringing the number of bird flu cases among humans in China to 12.

    "China, which is just across a strait from Taiwan, has become potentially the most dangerous hot spot for bird flu," Chen said in a speech to Taiwan health workers.

    "China's bird flu cases will pose a serious threat to the entire world ... at that time Taiwan and Hong Kong will be the first to suffer."

    The avian flu virus has killed more than 80 people and forced the culling of more than 150 million birds worldwide. Taiwan has yet to experience an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.

    The U.S. National Institutes of Health has praised China for showing transparency in response to avian influenza and other observers say China has reported bird flu cases and outbreaks among poultry much faster than during the 2003 SARS epidemic, which Beijing was widely criticised for initially covering up.

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said China agreed to share virus samples from human bird flu cases, which the U.N. agency has been seeking to help track H5N1.

    Health experts fear that the virus could mutate to spread easily from human to human, potentially unleashing a global pandemic. Victims currently contract it through direct contact with infected birds.

    China claims the self-ruled island of Taiwan as its own and opposes any attempt by the island to seek international recognition.

    Taiwan is bitter about China's repeated blocking of its bid to join WHO as an observer. Chen said it was ironic Taiwan's effort to join WHO was blocked by China, which he said was responsible for the spread of SARS in 2003.
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