Chinese government scientists have rejected claims that a new strain of H5N1 avian flu had emerged in China and may spread across to Europe.

The director of China’s National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory, Chen Hualan, and the director of influenza research at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Shu Yuelong, said no “Fujian-like” strain of avian flu had spread among the country’s birds.

“The so-called ‘Fujian-like virus’ is not a new strain. These viruses are quite stable genetically and have not shown any major changes in resistance,” they said.