Bird Flu In China; 2 New Cases Announced
February 11, 2013

Two Cases Of Bird Flu Reported In Southwestern China

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Officials from the Chinese health ministry have reportedly confirmed to state media outlets that two residents in the southwestern part of the country are critically ill with the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

The victims, a 21-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, tested positive for bird flu, AFP, citing information obtained from the Xinhua news agency, reported on Sunday.

Both are residents of the city of Guiyang.

The unidentified woman tested positive on February 2 and the man tested positive the following day, the news organization said. Both are in critical condition and are being treated by medical personnel, health officials were quoted as saying, and there appears to be no epidemiological connections between the two cases, according to Reuters.

“The pair did not have contact with fowls before they fell ill, Xinhua said. In most cases, victims had direct contact with infected birds, mostly chickens. The virus is especially abundant in the feces and respiratory secretions of affected birds,” Reuters reported.

Those who came into close contact with the two patients have also been placed under observation, but none of them have shown symptoms of infection as of yet, according to reports.

“The bird flu virus has killed 365 people worldwide since a major outbreak in 2003, according to the World Health Organization. It typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact, but experts fear it could mutate into a form transmissible between humans,” AFP said.

“China is considered one of the nations most at risk from bird flu epidemics because it has the world's biggest poultry population and many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans,” they added.

On Friday, a five-year-old Cambodian girl died as a result of the bird flu, making her the fifth person in that country to succumb to the illness so far this year, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The Cambodian Health Ministry and the WHO revealed that the girl, whose name was not published, had “a history of contact with poultry in her village in southeastern Takeo province, where there was evidence of recent deaths among poultry,” the wire service reported.

“Only one of Cambodia´s six victims this year of the virus, also called avian influenza, or H5N1, has survived the disease. The country reported three cases in 2012, all fatal,” they added. “WHO statistics issued Feb. 1 show Cambodia as the only country so far reporting human cases of the disease in 2013.”