28 May 2005
An official from China's agricultural department said the death toll from bird flu in the West of China is five times greater than official reports had stated. The number of migratory birds killed was much larger than people had thought, he said. He added that the reports refer only to the death of birds and that no humans have died.
Rumours are rife among experts and throughout the internet that there has been a massive cover-up. People are saying nobody really knows how bad the situation really is/was. Rumours abound that many humans have perished.
Officials now say more than 1,000 migratory birds have died after being infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu. The H5N1 is the most lethal one. Official reports had talked about just 178 birds, all of them geese, perishing in Qinghai Lake - now, they say the real number is over 500.
China has not reported one human death from bird flu - even though nearby countries such as Vietnam have had 38 deaths. In total, the number of human deaths from bird flu in South East Asia has totalled 54.
Health experts say that in order to tackle a possible pandemic which could spread to humans and become a human-to-human transmissible disease, we need accurate, reliable information. If authorities are not able to provide reliable figures it is virtually impossible to know what to do and when and where to do it. A pandemic could kill millions and millions of people throughout the globe.