Tue, Aug 22, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Analysis dispels avian flu rumors

CNA , TAIPEI

A pathogenic analysis report made public by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday dispelled rumors that a human bird flu case had recently been reported in Taiwan.

CDC Deputy Director-General Lin Ting (林頂) said that after conducting chemical and pathological analyses, CDC experts found that the samples taken from a man from northern Taiwan were free of the avian flu virus, dispelling a nationwide rumor over the weekend that a man had died of bird flu.

The fears sparked by the rumor contributed to a sharp 215-point drop in the Taipei stock market yesterday, one of the steepest single day declines in the Taiwanese bourse in recent years.

Lin said the man, who lives in northern Taiwan and is in his 30s, was admitted to hospital recently after displaying symptoms of respiratory disease. The man had not traveled abroad, but he had come into direct contact with live birds, he added.

The man is still in hospital, Lin said.

The CDC has sponsored nationwide bird flu drills since Thursday to test the country's ability to deal with an avian flu pandemic despite the fact that Taiwan remains free of the highly pathogenic avian flu.

Recent reports of new cases of bird flu -- including cases in Thailand, Russia and a case in China's Xinjiang Province, in which a person died -- have raised concerns among WHO specialists that the avian flu virus may have mutated into new and more lethal strains.

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