China reports its seventh avian flu case

Dec 29, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – China has recorded its seventh human case of H5N1 avian influenza, involving a 41-year-old factory worker who died Dec 21, according to the Chinese news service Xinhua.

The victim was a woman surnamed Zhou who lived in Sanming City in the eastern province of Fujian, Xinhua reported today. She became ill with fever and pneumonia on Dec 6 and was hospitalized 2 days later.

Samples from the patient initially tested negative for the virus, but later tests by provincial and national laboratories were positive, the report said.

The Chinese Ministry of Health said no poultry outbreak of H5N1 was reported near where Zhou lived, according to Xinhua. The report did not suggest how she might have contracted the virus.

People who were in close contact with the patient are under medical observation, and no problems have been seen so far, the report said.

China's previous six human cases have been widely scattered, including two deaths in Anhui province and nonfatal cases in Hunan, Liaoning, and Jiangxi provinces, plus Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Xinhua said. The last previous case was reported Dec 16 in a 35-year-old man from Jiangxi; the outcome has not yet been announced.

The World Health Organization's current overall human case count stands at 141, including 73 deaths, not counting the Chinese case reported today.

A trial of a human H5N1 vaccine developed in China began Dec 21 with six volunteers, Xinhua reported. "The whole trials will need nine months of tests, but initial results are expected within the first three," the story said.

China has reported 31 outbreaks of H5N1 avian flu in poultry so far this year, according to Xinhua. Twenty-six of those have occurred since Oct 19, an Associated Press report said.

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