Lying about bird flu

The week's news at a glance.

Beijing

China this week admitted that a Chinese soldier died of bird flu in 2003, two years earlier than previously acknowledged. Chinese authorities have been accused of covering up the spread of bird flu, just as they covered up initial cases of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, several years ago. But the Chinese scientists who disclosed the 2003 flu death said they simply had not properly analyzed the tissue sample from the soldier until now. International health officials expect more such disclosures now that China is devoting additional resources to flu analysis. “It would have been a surprise had there not been more cases from China, because it is in the epicenter of the bird flu outbreak,” said British bird-flu expert Neil Ferguson. “I am certainly not surprised about this one.”

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