China says man dies of bird flu

BEIJING Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:39am EST

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BEIJING (Reuters) - A man in southern China's Guangdong province died of bird flu Saturday a week after being admitted to hospital with a fever, state media reported.

The 39-year-old bus driver living in Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong, developed symptoms on December 21 and was admitted to a hospital on December 25 because of severe pneumonia, the official Xinhua news agency said.

He died in the early afternoon of multiple organ failure, having tested positive for the H5N1 virus, the report added.

He had no direct contact with poultry in the month prior to getting sick and had not left the city, Xinhua said.

Guangdong's official newspaper, the Southern Daily, said separately that 120 people who had contact with the man had developed no signs of sickness.

About 10 days ago Hong Kong culled 17,000 chickens at a wholesale poultry market and suspended all imports of live chickens from mainland China for 21 days after a dead chicken there tested positive for the H5N1 virus.

The virus is normally found in birds but can jump to people who do not have immunity to it. Researchers worry it could mutate into a form that would spread around the world and kill millions.

In recent years, the virus has become active in various parts of the world, mainly in east Asia, during the cooler months.

Authorities in China are worried about the spread of infectious diseases around this time when millions of Chinese travel in crowded buses and trains across the country to go home to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The current strain of H5N1 is highly pathogenic, kills most species of birds and up to 60 percent of the people it infects.

Since 2003, it has infected 573 people around the world, killing 336.

The virus also kills migratory birds but species that manage to survive can carry and disperse the virus to new, uninfected locations.

It transmits less easily between people but there have been clusters of infections in people in Indonesia and Thailand in the past.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ed Lane)

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Comments (2)
yusufG wrote:
In headlines today, WHO expresses concerns on mutations of N1H1 Bird Flu virus in the Netherdlands by research facilities making it more transmitable to humans. Why are they researching this? For what purpose? To anihilate certain races? This is not contoversial, this is plain simple Crime against Humanity. Those involved in the research should be held accountable in the international court of justice. This brings to light what certain industries will go through to earn money. This is terrorism! Plain and simple. WHO is useless. The UN should file criminal charges against the Dutch government for allowing such research. This is becoming a war of power against the helpless.

Dec 31, 2011 6:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
sicknot wrote:
yusufG: While it certainly can’t be ruled out, your hypothesis is borderline whacko conspiracy theory. First off N1H1 is the swine flu, N5H1 is the avian flu discussed in this article. Second, in my opinion, it is a very good idea to study the virus in order to understand it’s qualities thus making it easier to develop a vaccine when H5N1 eventually, inevitably becomes transmissible between humans. When that happens, you are looking at a pandemic where untold millions will die if the mortality rate remains anywhere near it’s current state and the fact that people are studying the virus actually makes me feel a lot safer. To quote the movie Contagion, “Someone doesn’t have to weaponize the bird flu. The birds are doing that.” I know it’s a reference from a movie designed to play on our fears of a pandemic outbreak, but it is true. Nature doesn’t need our intervention in order to make horrible ways to kill us.

Dec 31, 2011 7:04pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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