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Cablegate: Dead Birds in Guangzhou Confirmed Positive for H5n1 Virus,

VZCZCXRO6609
RR RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHVC
DE RUEHGZ #0160/01 0770846
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170846Z MAR 08
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6977
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCNARFC/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//USDP/ISA/AP//
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC//J2/J3/J5//
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J00/J2/J3/J5//
RUEORDA/DIRAFMIC FT DETRICK MD//MA-1A//

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 000160

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM, CA/OCS/ACS/EAP, AIAG, OES/IHA, MED
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE AND GH
CDC FOR OGHA AND DIV-FLU
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE FOR OSD/ISA/AP
HHS PASS TO FIC/NIH
USDA PASS TO APHIS, FAS (OSTA AND OCRA), FSIS
BANGKOK FOR RMO, CDC, USAID
BEIJING FOR HHS HEALTH ATTACHE AND RMO
PHNOM PENH FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR
VIENTIANE FOR CDC INFLUENZA COORDINATOR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO EAGR PINR KFLU CH
SUBJECT: Dead birds in Guangzhou confirmed positive for H5N1 virus,
avian influenza

REF: A. Guangzhou 0154

1. (U) Summary: The National Influenza Reference Laboratory has
confirmed that the March 13 death of 114 chickens in a Guangzhou
poultry market was the result of the H5N1 virus (avian influenza).
Guangdong authorities have increased disinfection and monitoring
efforts. The infected birds have been traced to an unlicensed
wholesale poultry market in Foshan, which has subsequently culled
2,000 birds, tested an additional 82,000 plus, and halted market
operations. No additional cases of H5N1 infection have been
reported. End Summary.

-------------------------
Avian Influenza Confirmed
-------------------------

2. (U) During a March 13 incident, in a Guangzhou poultry market, a
total of 114 birds died from unknown causes. Authorities ordered an
additional 518 to be culled, one of several steps exercised as part
of the provincial government's prevention and response plan, which
is activated when avian influenza is suspected (ref. A). On March
16, following tests conducted by the National Avian Influenza
Reference Laboratory (located in Harbin) on poultry samples
collected from the Guangzhou market, the Guangdong Ministry of
Agriculture confirmed that the deaths were a result of highly
pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) of the H5N1 subtype. As part of
the provincial response plan, disinfection and monitoring efforts
have been strengthened for poultry markets located within a 3-km
radius of the infection site. Additionally, market sellers who were
in close contact with the infected poultry remain under medical
observation. The Guangdong HPAI Command Center has circulated a
memo urging local government to be vigilant in their 100 percent
vaccination policy, and in their promotion of quarantine
certificates. No additional AI-related poultry deaths have been
reported.

3. (U) Also, in an unrelated case, authorities have confirmed that
the death of more than 3,000 birds in Foshan City's Tingbu Village
(ref. A), located 2 hours southwest of Guangzhou, can be attributed
to the overuse of antibiotics, not to the H5N1 virus. According to
investigations conducted by the Foshan Veterinary Section, and the
Animal Disease Prevention and Control Center, a farmer previously
purchased the antibiotic Gentamicin, used to treat bacterial
infections, and subsequently administered a dosage three-times the
normal level to his farm's poultry. Additionally, he mixed the
antibiotics into the poultry feed, instead of properly administering
the drugs into the water. As a result, many of his birds died.

-------------------
Contaminated Supply
-------------------

4. (SBU) Since March 13, stalls in Guangzhou's Jinhua Xin Market
have been disinfected daily, and remain banned from selling poultry
at this time. Stalls selling other goods in the market are
operating as normal. Following provincial government investigations
into the origination point of the infected poultry, authorities have
discovered that the dead chickens were obtained from an unlicensed
wholesale market, Sanniao market, located in Foshan City's Nanhai
district. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, 2,000 birds in
the wholesale market were culled as a precautionary measure.
Additional reports indicate that more than 82,000 of the wholesale
market's birds tested negative for the H5N1 virus, though this claim
has yet to be confirmed. The wholesale market purchases its poultry
supply from Beiliu, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. On March 14,
local officials suspended the wholesale market's operations for
operating without a license.


GUANGZHOU 00000160 002 OF 002


5. (U) This cable was coordinated with Embassy Beijing.

GOLDBERG

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