January 6, 2009

Woman thought to have bird flu dies

A woman suspected of having contracted bird flu has died, local health officials in Beijing said Tuesday.

Zhao Qingchao, an official with Langfang municipal government, said Huang Yanqing apparently was the only one of 13 people who ate the duck to become fatally ill, the state-run news agency Xinhua reported Tuesday.

Huang bought nine ducks at the Yanjiaoqingong Market in Langfang City of Beijing's neighboring Hebei Province Dec. 19, then cleaned the ducks' internal organs before giving three ducks to other people, the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau said.

According to the initial investigation, a total of 13 people have eaten the duck and Huang is the only one who fell ill, Zhao said. We had thoroughly combed all stands in the market.

He said the ducks' origin was traced to Jixian County in Tianjin Municipality.

No bird flu case had been found in Langfang City so far, a spokesperson with China's Ministry of Agriculture told Xinhua.

The Beijing Municipal Health Bureau said 116 people were in close contact with the victim. One healthcare professional in contact with Huang contracted bird flu, but recovered, the bureau said.

Beijing officials reported the incident to the World Health Organization, as well as health authorities in Hong Kong and Macao. Official also have begun bird flu prevention and control measures.