Feb 27, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A girl and a young woman in China have contracted avian influenza and are in critical condition, marking the 13th and 14th confirmed cases there, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.
In addition, the WHO recognized a fatal human case of avian flu that was reported last week in Indonesia. The WHO's current global count of human bird flu cases is 173, including 93 deaths.
The patients in China are a 9-year-old girl from the eastern province of Zhejiang and a 26-year-old female farmer from the adjoining Anhui province, according to the WHO.
The girl became ill on Feb 10 after she visited relatives in Anhui, the WHO said. No animal outbreaks have been reported in Zhejiang since 2004.
The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that during the girl's visits with relatives, chickens in the relatives' households got sick, and some died.
The WHO said the farmer had had contact with diseased poultry before she fell ill Feb 11. Local agricultural officials reported that the H5N1 virus was found in dead poultry in her neighborhood.
Samples from both patients tested positive in provincial laboratories and China's national disease-control laboratory, according to Xinhua.
"The H5N1 virus is now considered to be endemic in birds in large parts of China," the WHO said.
Of the 14 total cases in China, 8 have been fatal.
The latest fatal case in Indonesia involved a 27-year-old woman from West Java province who fell ill Feb 13 and died a week later, the WHO said. Indonesian authorities reported last week that she had tested positive in a local lab.
Including this case, Indonesia has had 27 cases with 20 deaths.
WHO statement on cases in China
WHO statement on case in Indonesia