- Title: CHINA: Government confirms first case of bird flu
- Date: 16th November 2005
- Summary: CLOSE SHOTS OF CHICKENS IN CAGES IN LIVE POULTRY DUCKS AT LIVE POULTRY MARKET LIVE POULTRY MARKET (2 SHOTS) MAN WORKING WITH DEAD POULTRY MEAT AT MARKET CLOSE UP OF POULTRY PARTS AND KNIFE POULTRY MARKET (GOOD SHOTS OF POULTRY MARKET WITH POOR CONDITIONS)
- Embargoed: 1st December 2005 12:00
- Location: China
- Country: China
- Topics: Health
- Reuters ID: LVAE9RRK95NUAFCG6QOOGDK2LNE5
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: China confirmed its first human cases of bird flu on Wednesday (November 16), reporting deaths in the central province of Hunan and in eastern Anhui, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
One confirmed case in Anhui had died and another in Hunan was suspected of having been killed by the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. A second confirmed Hunan case had recovered, it said.
Xinhua identified the Anhui victim as a 24-year-old woman surnamed Zhou, who fell ill on Nov. 1 and died on Nov. 10. She had had contact with dead chickens and geese on her family farm.
China has been trying to contain about a dozen outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus among poultry in at least six provinces in the past month. The World Health Organisation said it had been informed by China that a 9-year-old boy from Hunan province suspected of having bird flu was indeed stricken by the H5N1 virus.
His 12-year-old sister, who fell ill and died in October, had H5N1 antibodies and most likely succumbed from bird flu, though she did not technically meet the WHO criteria for a confirmed case, Xinhua and WHO spokesman Roy Wadia said.
In October, China reported that hundreds of chickens and ducks had died in Wantang village in Xiangtan County, near Hunan's provincial capital of Changsha. After mass culling and disinfection, the area was declared free of bird flu this week.
The children had close contact with infected poultry, Wadia said.
Chinese officials initially reported that the two children in Hunan had suffered pneumonia and not bird flu, but later invited international experts in to help confirm the cases. The boy was discharged from hospital over the weekend.
Wadia said the WHO had sent a team of experts to Hunan, but was not involved in an investigation in Anhui. Anhui reported an outbreak of avian influenza among poultry on Monday.
Wadia also said a teacher in Hunan had fallen ill with symptoms of pneumonia and was still considered a suspect bird flu case. Xinhua reported he was still in hospital in stable condition.
A poultry worker in the northeastern province of Liaoning, where an outbreak was reported among domestic birds this month, also was considered a suspected case. Human cases of bird flu have killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003, mainly in Vietnam and Thailand. So far the H5N1 strain has not shown it can spread easily among people, but scientists fear it may mutate into a form that can do so and spark a global pandemic. Outbreaks among poultry also have been reported in China's western region of Xinjiang, and in the central province of Hubei and the northern region of Inner Mongolia.
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