China confirms human cases of bird flu

China's Ministry of Health has confirmed the country's first-ever human cases of bird flu, reporting two in the central province of Hunan and one in eastern Anhui, the official Xinhua news agency says.

    China has reported several bird flu outbreaks among poultry

    The agency's brief dispatch gave no further details. China has been trying to contain a series of outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus among poultry across the country in the past month.
       
    Earlier on Wednesday, the Health Ministry said it had not reached a final conclusion regarding the possible detection of bird flu antibodies in a 9-year-old boy from Hunan province.
       
    The boy and his 12-year-old sister fell ill last month and were treated for pneumonia symptoms. The boy was discharged from hospital last weekend but his sister died.
       
    Xinhua did not say whether the boy and girl were the confirmed bird flu victims.
       
    It also did not identify the person infected in Anhui, where an outbreak of avian influenza among poultry was reported on Monday, and did not elaborate on the condition of any of the three cases. 
      
    Human cases of bird flu have killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003, mainly in Vietnam and Thailand.
       
    So far the H5N1 strain has not shown it can spread easily among people, but scientists fear it may mutate into a form that can do so and spark a global pandemic.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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