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History of H5N1 in Mainland China


The first appearance of the lethal form of H5N1 influenza in the world was in southern China in 1996 in a goose.

As noted in the history of H5N1 in Hong Kong, a family of 5 from Hong Kong visited Fujian province in Mainland China from January 6 to February 9, 2003. The 7 year old girl developed respiratory symptoms and a high fever while on the trip. She died on January 13, 2003. She was not tested for H5N1 and was buried in Mainland China. Her 33 year old father became ill on February 7. He died on February 17 in Hong Kong. He was tested and was found to have been infected with H5N1. The 8 year old boy in the family became ill on February 9, 2003, but recovered. He was tested and was also found to be positive for H5N1. Hong Kong scientists KY Yuen and SSY Wong regard the 2003 H5N1 cases as “imported” from Mainland China.

On October 8 2005, a 12 year old girl from Hunan province became ill with respiratory symptoms. She died on October 16. Her 9 year old brother became ill with respiratory symptoms on October 10 2005. He was confirmed to be infected with H5N1. He was released from the hospital on November 12 2005.

A 24 year old woman and a 35 year old woman, both from Anhui province, became ill after being infected with H5N1 and died in November 2005. On October 30 2005 a 31 year old woman from Liaoning province became ill. Although she suffered severe respiratory distress, she recovered and was released from the hospital on November 29. She was confirmed to have been infected with H5N1. On November 23 2005, a 10 year old girl from Guangxi province developed a fever and respiratory conditions. She was confirmed to have been infected with H5N1. Her death was reported by the WHO on January 10 2006. On December 4, a 35 year old man from Jiangxi province became ill. H5N1 infection was confirmed. His death was reported by the WHO on January 10 2006. On December 6 2005, a 41 year old woman from Fujian province became ill. She died on Decmber 21 2005. H5N1 infection was confirmed.


A 6 year old boy from Hunan province became ill on December 24 2005. H5N1 infection was confirmed. A 35 year old woman from Sichuan province became ill on January 3 2006. She died of H5N1 influenza on January 11. A 29 year old woman from Sichuan province became ill on January 12 2006. She died of H5N1 influenza on January 23.

H5N1 fatality table by Age

H5N1 fatality table by Date of Death

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Sources of Information

  • Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention english mandarin
    • Table of Notifiable Infectious Diseases National Incidence and Death Cases of Notifiable Class A or Class B Infectious Diseases (May 2005). includes cases of SARS and avian flu.
    • Control Program for Avian Flu - Infected Human Cases A press release by the CDCP dated February 8 2004. It announces the establishment of an expert group to develop a control programme for human cases of avian influenza.

  • Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences (english)

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National Influenza Center

Dr Yuelong Shu
Virology Institute
Chinese CDC
YingXin Jie
100, XuanWu District
Beijing 100052
Tel: +86 (10) 6357 7499
Fax: +86 (10) 6357 7499, 32053

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Scientific Publications

Scientific papers relating to the situation in China

  • Human infection by avian influenza A H5N1
    pdf, Yuen and Wong, Hong Kong Medical Journal, 2005
  • Highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza virus infection in migratory birds
    Liu, et al., Science Aug 2005
  • Characterization of a human H5N1 influenza A virus isolated in 2003
    Shinya, et al., Journal of Virology Aug 2005
  • Isolation of a genotypically unique H5N1 influenza virus from duck meat imported into Japan from China
    Mase et al., Virology Aug 2005
  • Genetic characterization of H5N1 avian influenza viruses isolated in southern China during the 2003-04 avian influenza outbreaks
    Wan et al., Archives of Virology June 2005
  • Implications of H5N1 infections in pigs in China
    WHO Avian Influenza Update, August 24, 2004
  • Genesis of a highly pathogenic and potentially pandemic H5N1 influenza virus in eastern Asia
    Li et al., Nature July 2004
  • The evolution of H5N1 influenza viruses in ducks in southern China
    Chen et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA July 2004
  • H5N1 influenza viruses isolated from geese in Southeastern China: evidence for genetic reassortment and interspecies transmission to ducks
    Guan et al., Virology January 2002

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News from China

  • Human case of bird flu confirmed in China’s Liaoning
    People’s Daily Online, Dec 9 2005
  • United States-China Joint Initiative on Avian Influenza
    November 19 2005
  • China confirms two human cases of avian flu
    CIDRAP News, 16 Nov 2005
  • Taiwan urges WHO inspection of China for bird flu
    China Post, 21 Oct 2005
  • Taiwan seizes 1,500 Chinese birds amid flu fears
    Today Online, 21 Oct 2005
  • WHO concerned about new flu oubreak in China
    Forbes, 10 Oct 2005
  • S. China: perfect incubator for bird flu pandemic?
    Reuters, September 13 2005 (english)
  • Emergency Plans for Influenza Drawn Up
    Red Nova, September 11 2005 (english)
  • Farmers weather bird flu
    The Mercury News, August 19 2005 (english)
  • China reported bird flu cases in Tibet - OIE
    Reuters, August 10 2005
  • China withholds vital information for tackling deadly bird flu virus
    news Telegraph, July 24, 2005
  • Flu kills more migratory birds in China
    CIDRAP News, June 28 2005 (english)

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Boxun news reports

The following reports are separated from the news as they contain information collected in unconventional ways and are unverified. These should be read with skepticism. The Boxun reports are included for two reasons. First, if true, they point to large-scale human infections in Mainland China that have been covered up the government. Second, Boxun was the first news organization to report that SARS was present in mainland China at a time when this epidemic was being covered up the government. Caveat lector.

  • Irresponsible reporting is the really bad news
    Shanghai Daily, Nov 2005 (Opinion piece attacking Boxun)
  • Boxun Commented about Mr. Gao Qiang’s Criticism
    Boxun News,1 Dec 2005 (Boxun responds to criticism)

  • Boxun News Network English and Chinese

  • Beijing Reports First Human Infection and Death from the H5N1 Virus
    Translation by PeterPan at Flu Wiki, November 29 2005

  • Harbin Water Contamination Incident Diverts Attention from the 77 Deaths Caused by the Avian Influenza in Liaoning
    Translation by PeterPan at Current Events, November 24 2005

  • Official from Ministry of Health Reveals 2005 Human Case Figures for Avian Influenza Outbreak in China
    Translation by PeterPan at Current Events, November 14 2005

  • More than 3,600 People Placed Under Close Observation in Liaoning Heishan Avian Influenza Epidemic Zone
    Translation by PeterPan at Current Events, November 8 2005

  • Chinese Authorities Close the Temporary Shelters / Holding Areas near the Qinghai Ha-Gy (approx Pronunciation) Epidemic Area
    Translation by PeterPan at the Agonist, August 6 2005

  • Farming Community in Yushu Deserted Following Suppression of Bird Flu Related Riots
    Translation by PeterPan at the Agonist, July 31 2005

  • Rioting in YuShu Farming Community Suppressed, Troops Leaving Area
    Translation by PeterPan at the Agonist, July 24 2005

  • Riots Reported Due to the Capture / Arrest of the Bird Flu Patients, the Army Strengthens its Hold Over the New Outbreak Zones
    Translation by PeterPan at the Agonist, July 22 2005

  • Bird flu update - seems serious
    Putative transcript of a BBS in Mainland China reporting large scale military intervention to forcibly quarantine people suspected of bird flu infection on July 20 2005
    PeterPan’s Translation of the same story from the Agonist

  • Casualty Surpasses 700?
    Translation by PeterPan at the Agonist, June 28 2005

Page last modified on January 26, 2006, at 09:36 PM by Monotreme