The Chinese Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed
that a 29-year-old woman in Shanghai in east China has died from the bird flu.
The victim, identified only by her surname, Li, was a migrant worker in
Shanghai. She showed symptoms of fever and pneumonia on March 13 and died on
The Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed
Li's blood samples tested positive for H5N1. The municipal health department had
suspected she was suffering from bird flu.
The national Center for Disease Control (CDC) re-tested on Thursday Li's
samples which were also positive. The tests were made in accordance with the
standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), said the ministry.
Those having close contacts with Li have been put under medicalobservation by
local health authorities. So far, none have reported abnormal symptoms.
The report did not say how or where the victim might have been infected with
the disease and there has been no confirmation on any outbreak of bird flu among
poultry in the city.
The ministry has reported the case to the WHO, the regions of Hong Kong,
Macao and Taiwan, and several countries.
Li's death brings the total number of human cases of bird flu in China to 16.
Ten of the victims have died.
Worldwide a total of 185 human cases of bird flu which caused 104 deaths have
been reported to the WHO as of Friday, according to the WHO's website.
There is still room for improvement in China's bird flu surveillance and
early warning of the public following bird flu outbreaks, Shigeru Omi, WHO
regional director of the Western Pacific, said on Wednesday in Beijing.
Shanghai's health authorities have intensified surveillance andpreventive
measures in the city which has a population of about 18million people.
The city's 160 medical departments with fever outpatient service have stepped
up screening of patients. Control of animal and poultry trade have also been
Booklets on bird flu prevention have been sent to communities in a bid to
raise public awareness of the disease.
"There's no need to panic, but it's necessary to pay close attention to
personal hygiene and avoid contact with sick or dead poultry," said Zhang
Yongxin, a professor with the Huashan Hospital under the Fudan University in
Experts have been worrying that the bird flu virus could mutateinto a form
that could easily spread among people, causing a global pandemic.
China has agreed to share virus samples from bird flu outbreaksin poultry
with WHO to help develop anti-bird flu drugs and vaccines, according to WHO
The first batch of 20 samples should arrive at WHO's overseas laboratories
within weeks, said Julie Hall, Coordinator of Epidemic Alert and Response in
WHO's Beijing office.