Winter in China brings another bird flu death

Health authorities in China have confirmed another human death in the country from bird flu.

China's Ministry of Health says a 22-year-old man who became ill on January 16th has died from the H5N1 strain of avian influenza.

The man, Mr Li was from Jianghua County, Yongzhou City in central Hunan Province, he developed a fever and headache and was hospitalised on January 22nd, but despite treatment his symptoms worsened and he died at 5 p.m. on January 24th after all rescue attempts had failed.

According to China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, tests revealed he had the deadly bird flu virus but how he contracted the disease has not as yet been reported.

The health ministry says all those who had been in close contact with Mr Li have been examined and placed under strict medical observation but no "abnormal conditions" have as yet appeared.

Mr Li was China's 27th victim of the H5N1 virus and the country's 18th fatality since 2003.

The H5N1 bird flu virus remains at present a disease which affects mainly birds and almost all human cases have been the result of close contact with sick poultry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says as of February 1st there have been 225 human deaths worldwide from bird flu but the virus has also caused the death either from the disease or from culling, of billions of birds and poultry.

Chinese authorities have informed the WHO, authorities in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and some foreign governments.

This latest confirmed case of human bird flu has occurred in the worst snow-stricken province of Hunan, which is experiencing prolonged low temperatures, icy rain and heavy snow causing blackouts and traffic chaos.

But the on-going worry is that the virus will eventually mutate and develop the ability to spread between humans triggering a global pandemic.

Posted in: Disease/Infection News

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