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Cablegate: Avian Influenza Detected in East China: 377,000 Chickens

VZCZCXRO8225
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH
DE RUEHGH #0556 3520941
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170941Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL SHANGHAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7446
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 2372
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 1623
RUEHGZ/AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU 0082
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 1791
RUEHSH/AMCONSUL SHENYANG 1615
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 1416
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEHGH/AMCONSUL SHANGHAI 8057

UNCLAS SHANGHAI 000556

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USDA FOR DLP AND FAS/OCRA/CHINA
HHS FOR OGHA/STEIGER
CDC ATLANTA FOR CCID AND COGH
STATE FOR EAP/CM, OES/IHA, AIAG, CA/OCS/ACS/EAP, AND MED

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR KFLU TBIO PINR AMED
SUBJECT: AVIAN INFLUENZA DETECTED IN EAST CHINA: 377,000 CHICKENS
CULLED

This message is Sensitive But Unclassified and for official use
only. Not for distribution outside of U.S. Government channels
or via the internet.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Following the discovery of the H5N1 Avian
Influenza Virus in Dongtai and Haian, Jiangsu province,
authorities have culled 377,000 chickens. Preliminary analysis
indicates that the virus could have been spread by migratory
birds and that it is a different variety than that which is
usually found in southern China. Authorities have implemented
measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The Japanese
Consulate has expressed concerns over a possible widespread
outbreak. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Reports indicate that routine testing has showed a
presence of the H5N1 Avian Influenza (AI) virus in farms in
Haian County and Dongtai city, both in Jiangsu province
(approximately 200 miles northwest of Shanghai). As a result,
Jiangsu officials have culled 377,000 chickens. At present,
there have been no reports of human cases of AI.

3. (U) According to a statement from the Ministry of
Agriculture, Jiangsu veterinary authorities reported the
incident on December 15, and the Ministry has notified the World
Animal Health Organization (OIE). Preliminary analysis by
ministry experts have indicated that the virus could have been
spread by migratory birds passing through the area and that it
was a different variety that that which was usually found in
southern China. The statement claimed that based on mandatory
AI inspections, the immunity to AI of Jiangsu's animal
population is 89 percent, higher than 70 percent national
standard. The statement also said that Jiangsu authorities have
stopped the transport of all poultry and poultry products from
the two areas and were sterilizing the poultry farms in those
locations and nearby regions to prevent the spread of the virus.

4. (SBU) The Consulate attempted to get further information
from authorities in the Jiangsu Health Bureau, Provincial Center
for Disease Control, and the Provincial Agriculture Bureau.
Contacts were unavailable for comment or were unaware of the
report of the outbreak. We have also attempted to contact
Shanghai health officials for their comment, but have not
received any response. Post will continue to follow-up for
additional information.

5. (SBU) At a December 17 lunch with the Consul General, the
Japanese Consul General in Shanghai Yutaka Yokoi, citing reports
of the AI outbreak in Jiangsu, raised the issue. He said he
would be speaking with members of the local Japanese community
to ask any of those with concerns over a possible AI outbreak to
consider returning to Japan sooner rather than later. Yokoi
indicated he was worried because it was not possible to predict
whether or when AI would begin to spread among humans. Once an
outbreak was confirmed it was already too late. The Japanese
Consulate General, he stressed, was not prepared to handle a
mass exodus of Japanese nationals in such an event. The U.S.
Consulate's nurse also reported that her counterpart in the
Japanese Consulate showed unusual alarm over AI.

6. (U) In December 2007, Jiangsu authorities reported the death
of a twenty-four year old male due to the H5N1 AI virus. That
was the first such report of any Avian Influenza incident in
Jiangsu province. According to media reports, this week's AI
incident was the first such public report from China since June
2008.

CAMP

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