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2007-9-2 10:02:20

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Source of Many Bird-Flu Strains: Report

Many strains of the dangerous H5N1 bird flu virus originated in the Chinese province of Guangdong, say U.S. researchers who analyzed genetic and geographic data.

The University of California, Irvine team studied 192 samples collected from Europe and Asia and concluded that Guangdong, which has a large poultry industry, was the source of many of the H5N1 strains found in China and other countries, Agence France Presse reported.

The study findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Health officials in Guangdong were quick to refute the study results.

"The findings... are the wrong conclusion to the evidence and lack credibility," the China Daily quoted Guangdong agricultural department spokeswoman He Xia as saying, AFP reported.