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Cablegate: Ai Update: Guangdong 2nd Possible Human Ai Case

VZCZCXRO2687
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB
DE RUEHGZ #7685/01 1700133
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150837Z JUN 06 ZDK CTG NUM SVCS
FM AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1023
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHINGTON DC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI 9373

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 GUANGZHOU 017685

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/CM
STATE PLEASE PASS NIH
USDOC FOR 4420/ITA/MAC/MCQUEEN, CELICO, DAS LEVINE
STATE PASS USTR
USPACOM FOR FPA
HHS FOR STEIGER, BHAT AND ELVANDER, OGHA

REF: A) Beijing 11163; B) Guangzhou 9084; C) Guangzhou 6174

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFLU TBIO EAGR PGOV CH
SUBJECT: AI Update: Guangdong 2nd Possible Human AI Case


GUANGZHOU 00017685 001.2 OF 002


(U) THIS DOCUMENT IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE
PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. NOT FOR RELEASE OUTSIDE U.S.
GOVERNMENT CHANNELS. NOT FOR INTERNET PUBLICATION.
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On June 14, the Guangdong Provincial
Health Department confirmed Guangdong has a second suspected
avian influenza (AI) case, in Shenzhen, near the Hong Kong
border. On June 15, the Guangdong Province Foreign Affairs
Office sent a diplomatic note to the Consulate also
detailing the case. The case has been sent to the Ministry
of Health, which still must make the final confirmation
whether the case is AI. It is not clear how the victim
contracted AI, since he had not been in direct contact with
wild birds. This second mysterious human AI case seems to
indicate there are some unreported AI cases among Guangdong
Province's one billion chickens. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On June 14, the South China Morning Post (SCMP)
reported that the Guangdong Health Department declared a
second suspected human avian influenza case had occurred in
Guangdong Province. That same day, the Guangdong Provincial
Health Department confirmed its announcement to the
Consulate. Later on June 14, the Guangdong Province Foreign
Affairs office sent a diplomatic note essentially confirming
what the Consulate had learned already learned. The
diplomatic note said the individual began showing symptoms
on June 3, including waist pain, fever, cold aversion and
coughing. On June 9 he sought treatment at the Shenzhen
People's Hospital. The Provincial Public Health Department
has reported to the Ministry of Health for confirmation
diagnosis. The last human AI case in Guangdong Province was
a Guangzhou city man who fell ill on February 22 and died on
March 2 (see ref C).
Biographical Background of the Case
-----------------------------------

3. (U) According to the Guangdong Health Department, the
patient, named Jiang O, 31, is a truck driver working in
Longgang District of Shenzhen (currently no information on
his original residence). Investigations show that Jiang did
not have direct contact with any direct contact with live
poultry before falling ill. According to Hong Kong
authorities quoted in the SCMP, Jiang had bought vegetables
several times at a wet market, which also sells chickens.
The only possible contact Jiang had with poultry occurred
two weeks before the onset of his illness when he and his
family ate a freshly slaughtered chicken Jiang's wife had
bought at a local market and cooked at home. The rest of
Jiang's family did not show similar symptoms, but they have
been put under medical observation.

Government reactions
--------------------

4. (SBU) The Guangdong Health Department said that tests
from both the Guangdong CDC and the Shenzhen CDC both showed
positive results of A/H5N1 virus. Guangdong Health
Department's specialists diagnosed the case and made an
initial judgment of an AI infection. Later, as part of its
action policy, the department sent Jiang's case to the
Ministry of Health for confirmation diagnosis. The Party
Committees and Governments of Guangdong and Shenzhen quickly
responded to the infection. Following Vice Governor Lei
Yulan's instruction, Shenzhen initiated their emergency
reaction plan to conduct close medical monitoring and
treatment of the patient and disinfect the possibly
contaminated areas. According to the diplomatic note,
health departments have implemented control and prevention
measures according to the emergency plan and are trying
their best to treat the patient.

Comment: Hidden AI Cases in Guangdong?
-------------------------------------------

GUANGZHOU 00017685 002 OF 002

5. (SBU) If Jiang is confirmed to have AI, he would be the
19th AI case in China. All but one of these cases has
occurred without an associated confirmed outbreak of AI
among nearby poultry. This trend supports the conclusions
of Beijing 11163 (see ref A). China's surveillance on human
AI cases seems to be far more advanced than its surveillance
on poultry AI cases. It seems odd that human AI cases are
occurring throughout China, with no apparent connection to
bird outbreaks. The most likely explanation is that many
more birds are infected than is reported by veterinary
officials. The problem is that local farmers are concerned
about the economic instability from culling large number of
birds and thus are not as aggressive as they could be about
reporting AI outbreaks. The Food and Agricultural
Organization (FAO) has also highlighted this as a concern.

6. (SBU) Guangdong Province has one billion chickens, yet
the province has not reported an AI poultry outbreak in
years. Now with possibly two human AI cases in the last few
months, there are likely AI cases among Guangdong birds that
simply have not been reported because of fear of economic
loss.

7. Embassy Beijing and Consulate Hong Kong have cleared on
this cable.

DONG

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