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Chinese colonel claims new bird flu strain is a biological weapon from US

Bird flu China poultry_Reuters.jpg

Health officers examine a pigeon for H7N9 at a poultry market in Changsha, Hunan province. (REUTERS/China Daily)

As cases of H7N9 continue to grow in China, one Chinese Air Force officer is blaming the outbreak not on genetic mutations – but on the United States government.

In a post on his blog Saturday, People’s Liberation Army Sr. Col. Dai Xu accused the United States of causing the recent bird flu outbreak by releasing the H7N9 virus in China as an act of biological warfare, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Jason Rebholz, a spokesman for the State Department, told the Washington Free Beacon that “there is absolutely no truth to these allegations.”

Dai wrote his allegations on the site Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like Chinese microblogging site.  He claimed that the bird flu strain was created as a biological weapon.

Dai also claimed that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was created by the U.S. as a bio-weapon in 2003.

“At that time, America was fighting in Iraq and feared that China would take advantage of the opportunity to take other actions,” Dai wrote. “This is why they used bio-psychological weapons against China. All of China fell into turmoil, and that was exactly what the United States wanted. Now, the United States is using the same old trick. China should have learned its lesson and should calmly deal with the problem.”

Dai has had a history of trying to spark conflict between China and the United States.

Thus far, the H7N9 virus has infected 31 people, leading to a total of nine deaths.  The cases have occurred in six provinces, including Shaanxi, Guizhou, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Fujian.

Chinese officials and scientists have said they have not found evidence yet that this virus strain is capable of spreading from human to human.  However, the exact source of the infection remains unknown. A vaccine for H7N9 has been authorized by China Food and Drug Administration and will hopefully be on the market within the next couple of months.

The State Department was notified by Chinese officials about the first H7N9 case on March 31, 20 days after the initial infection.

Click for more from the Washington Free Beacon.