BEIJING (Associated Press Nov 7) - China said Sunday it had asked for outside help to test three possible cases of bird flu in people while scientists and government representatives prepared for a strategy session in Geneva amid fears of a possible worldwide flu pandemic among humans. ...If China has turned over a new leaf by immediately reporting suspected human cases of H5N1 and asking for outside help in testing, I could not be more relieved. It would mean there is a chance to speed-bump the virus, which buys the human race more time to prepare for a pandemic.
Yet only the naive would assume that these are the first suspected human cases of H5N1 that China has seen. Given the repeated history I can't take Beijing at their word at this time; a pattern of actions from their health ministry is what I'll be looking for.
I am suspicious about the timing of Beijing's announcement. It could be a showcase move to head off criticism ahead of the Geneva meeting.
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