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Bird Flu Infects Another Korean; No Symptoms
posted by admin on 12/01/07

Authorities confirmed Thursday that a Korean has been infected with the avian influenza virus without showing symptoms.

The Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention(KCDC) said that a man in his 40s tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus. The center conducted tests on 26 residents near four poultry farms in North Jeolla Province which were hit by bird flu in November and December last year. Final test results on 85 residents are due late this month.

The latest discovery is the second case of non-symptomatic H5N1 infection since nine people were found to be infected after participating in a chicken slaughter from late 2003 to March 2004. The slaughter was prompted by the outbreak of avian influenza at the time.

The H5N1 virus is a highly virulent strain which can spread to humans. However, the newly infected man only showed signs of infection and did not suffer from the disease. KCDC official Kwon Joon-wook said that non-symptomatic infections pose no health threat since the infected person’s natural immune system has created an antibody to defeat the virus. The World Health Organization does not classify non-symptomatic infections as bird flu patients or disease carriers, he added. The KCDC official said there is no reason for ordinary people to avoid eating chickens, ducks and eggs, because infected people without symptoms don’t spread the disease.

In Japan, five out of 58 poultry farm owners and workers tested positive for the disease after that nation was hit by bird flu in February 2004. Some 77 non-symptomatic infections were discovered in January 2006. However, no casualties were reported.

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