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China Reports 3rd Bird Flu Death

From Associated Press

A 41-year-old woman from southeastern China has become the country’s third confirmed human fatality from the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu, the official New China News Agency said.

The woman died Dec. 21, the agency said, citing a Health Ministry report.

It wasn’t clear how the woman, a factory worker in the city of Sanming in coastal Fujian province, contracted the virus.

Doctors have examined people who had close contact with her and found no bird flu symptoms, and no outbreaks have been detected in animals in the area, the news agency said. It identified the woman only by the surname Zhou.

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China’s mainland is known to have had seven human cases of bird flu. The country also had a suspected case in which a 12-year-old girl died.

The nation has reported 26 outbreaks in chickens, ducks and other poultry throughout the country since Oct. 19.

Authorities have destroyed millions of birds to contain outbreaks and are in the midst of a campaign to inoculate all of China’s 5.2 billion poultry.

The H5N1 virus has killed more than 70 people in Asia since it appeared two years ago. Almost all of the victims were in close contact with birds. Experts fear the virus could mutate and cause a human pandemic.


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