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No human infection of bird flu in China
Updated: 2005-10-28 21:49

The Chinese Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture jointly reiterated Friday that China has experienced no human bird flu infection.

The death of the girl in Hunan Province where a bird flu outbreak occurred was caused by severe pneumonia. Her younger brother, who has been hospitalized for pneumonia, is recovering. Neither were infected with H5N1 virus, said Chen Xianyi with the Ministry of Health (MOH) at a press conference held in Beijing.

The 12-year-old girl He Yin, from Wantang Village in Xiangtan County, felt sick and was sent to the Provincial Children's Hospital on Oct. 16. She died the next day.

Her nine-year-old brother also felt sick on Oct. 17 with symptoms of fever and cough. He was later diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia.

Both ate smoke-dried chicken that died from bird flu.

On October 26, there were reports that He had died of a flu-like disease. The MOH denied the rumor the next day, saying it had received no human infection reports of bird flu.

"The boy's body temperature has been normal for eight consecutive days and he is recovering. Both he and his sister turned out negative on blood sample tests," said Chen, who is the director of the contingency office of the MOH.

"So far, the bird flu has been put under control in some towns and villages in the country. No human infections have been reported," he stressed.

China reported 50 bird flu outbreaks last year and no people were infected by the virus.

Since autumn this year, the H5N1 bird flu has been reported in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Hunan and Anhui Provinces. The Ministry of Agriculture immediately sent expert teams to the regions and reported the epidemic to international organizations as well as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

"To date, the bird flu outbreak in the three regions has been put out. No additional epidemic spots have been identified," said Chinese Chief Veterinarian Jia Youling at the press conference.

The Chinese government at all levels has been on high alert and taking intensive measures although no humans have been infected by the virus.

The MOH has set up a leading team for bird flu prevention and control and established a coordinated mechanism with the Ministry of Agriculture and State Quality and Quarantine Administration. Health contingency cooperative plans have also been prepared by the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, according to Chen.

The local government in the bird flu-hit areas slaughtered all poultry and took compulsory quarantine measures on those within five kilometers. Surveillance of pneumonia caused by an unknown factor has also been enhanced by disease prevention and control departments.

Chen said so far the people who had close contact with He and her brother, including the villagers and medical staff, have showed no abnormal symptoms. A search of additional suspected cases is being carried out on a larger scale as well.

In a word, the priority is to prevent people from getting infected. Timely treatment and quarantine will be carried out to curb the spread if human infection takes place, he said.

The official also revealed that if a human infection of bird flu occurs in China, the country will decided whether or not to close its border, in line with the regulations of the World Health Organization and international practice.

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