Farmer first human case this winter

By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-11 07:04

A 37-year-old farmer in East China's Anhui Province has contracted the H5N1 strain of bird flu the first human case reported on the Chinese mainland this winter.

The man, surnamed Li, developed symptoms of fever and pneumonia last month and was discharged from hospital on Saturday in Tunxi, Anhui, the Ministry of Health announced yesterday.

Local health authorities said those who had close contact with Li showed no abnormal symptoms and had been released from medical observation.

No bird flu case was reported among animals in the area and the local authorities are closely monitoring the situation, the ministry said.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Monday that Li tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain.

The next day, the Anhui provincial health department reported the case to the Ministry of Health, which then passed on the details to the World Health Organization.

Information has also been conveyed to the health agencies in the regions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as some countries, the ministry said.

The virus has killed 14 people on the Chinese mainland since 2003 and 21 had contracted the virus before the new case. The last case was reported in Xinjiang last July, according to Xinhua.

Elsewhere in Asia, the H5N1 virus killed a 14-year-old boy on the outskirts of Jakarta, the country's first fatality in six weeks. The boy died four days after being admitted with flu-like symptoms.

Indonesia is the world's hardest-hit country, with 58 bird flu deaths.

In Vietnam, bird flu has been confirmed in a fourth Vietnamese province after tests on 70 ducks showed they had died from the H5N1 virus, a government report said yesterday.

In Beijing, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health told a regular news conference yesterday that health authorities will continue to strengthen monitoring cases of pneumonia and flu as "winter is the season that bird flu cases will possibly occur".

Bird flu cases mostly have pneumonia symptoms, but colds or influenza will have obvious signs of upper respiratory tract infection, Mao Qun'an said.

The discovery of the bird flu case in Anhui proves that China's monitoring is efficient, he said.

Mao said that the current influenza outbreak in Beijing had nothing to do with bird flu.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by flu this month but it is expected that the epidemic rate will drop soon.

The December-January period is when influenza cases hit a peak in North China.

Tianjin municipality and Jilin, Heilongjiang, Gansu and Shaanxi provinces also witnessed high incidence of influenza.

(China Daily 01/11/2007 page1)

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