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China confirms 3rd human bird flu death
Updated: 2005-12-30 07:02

China confirmed its seventh human infection -- and third human death -- from bird flu on Thursday, after officials revealed a 41-year old factory worker died from the disease over a week ago.

The victim, a woman surnamed Zhou, died on December 21 and lived in Sanming City in eastern China's Fujian province, the Xinhua News Agency reported, citing China's Ministry of Health.

Like previous human victims of the H5N1 virus in China, she apparently contracted the disease in an area that has not officially reported previous outbreaks among birds.

The health ministry said "no H5N1 bird flu outbreak in animals was detected in the area where the new case was reported," Xinhua reported.

Zhou "showed symptoms of fever and pneumonia" on December 6 and was hospitalized two days later, the report said.

Initial tests for the H5N1 virus were negative. But later tests by provincial investigators and China's Center of Disease Control showed positive results, Xinhua said.

H5N1 is the bird flu virus that scientists fear may mutate into a strain that can spread easily among people, unleashing a human pandemic that could kill millions.

"Zhou has been confirmed to be infected with bird flu in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organization and the Chinese government," the health ministry said in its statement.
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