10 January 2006
China Confirms Eighth Human Case of Bird Flu
Health authorities say five of those infected have died, WHO reports
Washington -- China's Ministry of Health has confirmed an eighth human case of infection with the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported January 10.
The victim is a 6-year-old boy in the southern central province of Hunan.
The boy, who remains hospitalized, first showed symptoms of fever and pneumonia December 24, 2005. Preliminary investigations suggest he was infected by poultry from his family's flock, although there have been no official reports of outbreaks among poultry in the area.
Authorities placed individuals who had been in close contact with the boy under medical observation, according to WHO, but none has shown evidence of infection.
Since October 2005, outbreaks of the H5N1 virus have been reported among poultry flocks in several provinces across China.
The country's first human cases were verified in Hunan province and the eastern province of Anhui in late October 2005 and early November 2005. Additional cases have been confirmed in Guangxi province in the south, Liaoning province in the northeast, and Jiangxi and Fujian provinces in the southeast.
In addition, WHO reports Chinese health officials also verified that two individuals whose cases had been confirmed earlier have died, bringing the death toll to five out of the country's eight confirmed human cases. The two were a 10-year-old girl in Guangxi province, whose case was reported December 7, 2005, and a 35-year-old male factory worker in Jiangxi province, whose case was reported December 16, 2005.
Updates on the avian influenza situation in China are available at the WHO Web site.
For more information on U.S. policies to combat avian influenza, see Bird Flu.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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