China bird flu death raises alarm

WHO says latest death raises concerns over China's monitoring of virus.

    Most bird flu cases can be traced to contact
    with dead or infected poultry [EPA]
    Health officials said the boy had no history of contact with dead or sick birds, while no outbreaks of the virus among animals had been reported in the province.
     
    In most cases elsewhere around the world, the disease has been traced to either an outbreak amongst animals or contact between the victim and dead or sick animals, Brent said.
     
    In the light of the latest case she urged Chinese officials to strengthen monitoring and surveillance of bird flu among animals.
     
    "This is not consistent with what we are seeing around the world," she said.
     
    Of the 24 patients confirmed with bird flu infections in China since 2003, 15 have died.
     
    The last human death was of a 44-year-old woman in eastern China reported in February.
     
    Scientists say that multiple strains of the disease originated in southern China and spread elsewhere.
     
    Rising toll
     
    The boy's death brings to 170 the number of people who have died from bird flu around the world, but does not include the latest deaths in Indonesia.
     
    On Thursday, Indonesia announced two more deaths from the bird flu virus, taking its human toll to 69, the highest in the world.
     
    Runizar Ruesin, a health ministry official, said one person died on Sumatra island while the other in an army hospital in the capital Jakarta.
     
    "They tested positive in the first test," he said, adding a second was being conducted to confirm initial results.
     
    Most human cases in Indonesia have occurred after contact with sick birds, prompting a ban on keeping backyard chickens in Jakarta in the hope of eradicating human infections this year.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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