Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chinese man dies in first bird flu case since 2010, Shenzhen, Southern China - 31st Dec 2011

A bus driver in southern China has died from bird flu in the first reported human case of the deadly disease in 18 months.

The man, surnamed Chen, died in Shenzhen – a booming industrial town that borders Hong Kong – where thousands of chickens have already been culled after three birds tested positive for avian influenza virus in mid-December.

He developed a fever on December 21 and was taken to hospital four days later. He was then diagnosed with severe pneumonia, said the health department in Shenzhen, a city of more than 10 million people.

The 39-year-old later tested positive for the H5N1 virus, despite having had no direct contact with poultry in the month before he was taken ill.

The H5N1 virus is fatal in humans in about 60 per cent of cases.

However, it does not pass easily among humans, and the World Health Organization says it has never identified a "sustained human-to-human spread" of the virus since it re-emerged in 2003.

The health department in Guangdong province, where Shenzhen is located, announced on Saturday that the bus driver died after his lung, heart and liver functions deteriorated.

"So far, 120 people who have had close contact with him have not presented abnormal symptoms," it said in a statement. Read More