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Ciptapangan Visitor
China Confirms New Human Bird-Flu Case
posted by admin on 19/06/06

The toll brings the country's total human infections from the disease to 19

BEIJING -- China on Thursday confirmed that a man in the southern city of Shenzhen is infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu, bringing the country's total human infections from the disease to 19, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The 31-year-old truck driver tested positive June 9 for the deadly virus, at the Shenzhen Center for Diseases Control in Guangdong province. The diagnosis was verified by China's Ministry of Health on Thursday, Xinhua said. The man remained in critical condition and was being treated at Donghu Hospital in the city. Twelve people in China have died from the H5N1 virus.

Following China's confirmation of the case, Hong Kong said it would halt live-chicken imports from the mainland for three weeks beginning Friday.

The supply of chilled and frozen poultry meat wouldn't be affected, said York Chow, Hong Kong's Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food.

Besides Hong Kong, the Chinese Health Ministry reported the new case to the World Health Organization, Macau and Taiwan, as well as several countries. Macau health authorities said earlier this week that Macau would halt imports of live poultry from Shenzhen.

Earlier Thursday, the Shenzhen health bureau said all 98 people who had close contact with the man have been cleared of H5N1 after tests for the virus turned out negative.

Xinhua said research found the man had been to a local market where live poultry was sold before developing symptoms on June 3.

Elsewhere, A seven-year-old girl who died in Indonesia earlier this month was suffering from bird flu, international tests have confirmed, bringing the country's death toll from the virus to at least 38.

Nyoman Kandun, a senior health ministry official, said Thursday tests from a World Health Organization lab in Hong Kong had confirmed the girl was positive for the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus. The girl's brother also died showing symptoms of the virus, but was buried before tests were taken, the health ministry said earlier this month.

Indonesia trails only Vietnam, where 42 people have died, in human bird flu deaths. The H5N1 virus is considered endemic in poultry in most provinces across the sprawling archipelago.

Health official have expressed concern over the possible transmission of among humans after several members of the same family contracted the illness on Sumatra.

The World Bank this week said Indonesia's efforts to stop H5N1's spread are underfunded. Indonesia has said it will need $900 million over the next three years to fight the virus, but has only budgeted $59 million for 2006.

Bird flu has killed at least 128 people worldwide since it started ravaging Asian poultry farms in late 2003. So far, most human cases have been linked to contact with infected birds, but experts fear the virus could mutate into a form more easily transmissible among humans, potentially sparking a pandemic that could kill millions worldwide.

Copyright © 2006 Associated Press

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