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Flu Human bird flu cases found in China

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by Quigley_Sharps, Nov 16, 2005.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Bird flu has killed at least one person in China, officials said on Wednesday, confirming the spread of the deadly virus into people in another large Asian country where it might prove hard to contain.

    One victim in eastern Anhui had died and another in the central province of Hunan was suspected of having been killed by the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, China's official Xinhua news agency reported.

    A second person diagnosed with bird flu in Hunan had recovered, it said.

    The deadly H5N1 form of bird flu has already killed more than 60 people in Asia and is endemic in poultry in parts of the region. The previous confirmed deaths were in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia.

    The virus remains hard for people to catch and is still essentially a disease in birds. However, experts fear H5N1 could mutate into a form that passes easily among people, just like human influenza, putting millions of lives at risk.

    World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Roy Wadia said it was no surprise that bird flu had spread to humans in the world's most populous nation.

    "It's not a surprise. It shows that China like other countries that have bird flu in poultry can have human cases," Wadia said.

    China has been trying to contain about a dozen outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus among poultry in at least six provinces in the past month.

    Xinhua identified the Anhui victim as a 24-year-old woman surnamed Zhou, who fell ill on November 1 and died on November 10. She had had contact with dead chickens and geese on her family farm.

    The WHO said China had informed it that a 9-year-old boy from Hunan province suspected of having bird flu was indeed stricken by the H5N1 virus.

    His 12-year-old sister, who fell ill and died in October, had H5N1 antibodies and most likely succumbed to bird flu, Xinhua and WHO spokesman Wadia said. The children had close contact with infected poultry, Wadia said.

    Chinese officials initially reported that the two children in Hunan had suffered pneumonia and not bird flu, but later invited international experts to help confirm the cases. The boy was discharged from hospital over the weekend.


    Asian countries are scrambling to halt the spread of bird flu, with mass cullings of birds and vaccination of poultry. China on Tuesday announced plans to vaccinate billions of birds.

    Dr Robert Webster, an influenza expert at St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee, said it was too late for a large-scale cull of poultry in countries like China.

    "Poultry vaccines are the key," Webster told a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

    Migratory flocks have carried the virus into birds in eastern Europe and Kuwait and experts believe it will soon reach Africa.

    European union" veterinary experts on Wednesday extended a ban on imports of captive live birds for a further two months to guard against the spread of bird flu.


    The main producer of Tamiflu, the drug believed to be the best defense against a possible flu pandemic, has settled a dispute with the drug's inventor over production and royalties.

    Governments have been seeking to stockpile Tamiflu but Swiss drug maker Roche has come under pressure over concerns that production could fall short.

    The drug's inventor, U.S. company Gilead Sciences, will get a greater say in plans to increase production of the drug by farming out parts of the process to third-party producers such as generic drug makers.
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