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China Unwilling To Share Bird Flu Samples, says WHO

The World Health Organization has issued a statement, highlighting the unwillingness of China to share bird flu samples, collected from recent bird flu outbreaks.// This was stated following announcement of the third bird flu related human death, by Beijing.

The deadly avian bird flu virus is said to have claimed the life of a 41-year-old factory worker, from the Southeastern province of Fujian, before a week, according to official reports. She is believed to hail from an area that was devoid of any previous bird flu outbreaks.

Several international health agencies including the World Health Organization have requested China to pass on bird flu viral samples for testing. No sample has been however sent from China according to official reports.

"It means that there is a question mark that hangs over the progress of the virus in China. It's perhaps more significant to get animal viruses, because this virus is still something that is primarily in the animal sector. It's certainly a situation where the viruses need to be shared and not only shared but shared in a timely and consistent manner. If the animals in the area were sick and dying, and if they were dying in small numbers, it might have been very difficult to identify that as an outbreak. It just shows you that anything can happen at any time. It's a very unpredictable situation, whether on the human side or the animal side" said Roy Wadia, the WHO's Beijing-based spokesman.

The only source of sharing has been in the form of a written document, where China had agreed earlier to share isolated viral samples, derived from human cases.


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