Hong Kong is hinting that the Chinese mainland might be covering up a new outbreak of bird flu, after a number of dead fowl were found on Lantau Island. So far, 17 dead birds have washed up on Lantau’s beaches in recent days, three of which had tested positive for the H5N1 virus.
Lo Wing-Lok, a Hong Kong government adviser on infectious diseases, told Bloomberg:
“There’s no doubt of an outbreak of bird flu in China, though the government hasn’t admitted it,”
“Inefficient communication between the Hong Kong and mainland authorities is an ongoing problem. Hong Kong has not been well-informed by the mainland.”
In China, eight people have been reported infected with avian influenza this year, setting a record for the most in a single month since 2003. Of those eight, five have already died. Two have recovered, including a 3-year-old girl who became the youngest person recorded to beat the disease.
But China hasn’t reported any cases of the H5N1 strain amongst birds since December. Guangdong’s provincial government said it hadn’t received any reports of an avian flu epidemic, and insisted that the poultry industry is operating normally.
The World Health Organization has remained optimistic about the state of China’s reports, pointing out that it has been quick to inform international agencies of the eight cases in the country.