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Human-to-human bird flu infection ruled out
By Zhao Huanxin (Chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2006-03-05 12:05

No second "abnormal case" was detected in Guangzhou, which reported China's latest suspected death of bird flu on Thursday, Minister of Health Gao Qiang said on Sunday.

Some samples of the victim, a 32-year-old local resident, had been sent to Beijing for a double-check by the China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao said.

The process may take some time, the minister said on the sidelines of a plenary session of the National People's Congress, which opened Sunday morning in Beijing.

He also said there was no human-to-human communication of bird flu in China.

Close monitoring is being conducted on a local market where the man had visited, and on people who had direct contact with fowls, Gao said.

"You can rest assured that no second abnormality has been found," the minister told reporters.

The victim, surnamed Mao, started to develop symptoms of fever and pneumonia on February 22. He had been long staying at a nearby live poultry slaughtering site when he carried out a market survey, according to an official statement.

Gao tried to play down worries of the public, especially those in the neighbouring Hong Kong region, about the fallout of the suspected case.

"We've informed to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions as well as some countries of the situation," he said.

"After all, bird flu is not something just occurred, and you should have a somber knowledge that avian influenza appeared in Hong Kong well in 1997, and on the mainland in 2004."

Judging from infections in different parts of the country, the major source of contagion is believed to have come from migratory birds, the minister said.

China has so far reported 14 human cases of bird flu, with eight of them died and the rest recovered, statistics of Gao's ministry showed.

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