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China Denies Being Source of Bird Flu Virus


China is denying the findings of a U.S. university study that says southern China's Guangdong province was the source of the often-deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

State-run media quote a Guangdong agricultural official Wednesday as saying the study is wrong and lacks credibility.

Scientists at the University of California Irvine released a study earlier this week identifying Guangdong as the source of many bird flu strains, including H5N1. Their findings were based on bird flu virus samples taken in several parts of the world.

Meanwhile, China's government announced today a bird flu outbreak in a poultry market in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.

The outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus, which began March 1 in Lhasa's Chengguan village, killed 680 chickens and prompted the culling of 6,990 birds, The Associated Press said today, citing Xinhua news agency.

At least 167 people have died from bird flu since the outbreak began in late 2003, mostly in Asia.

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