Chinese man dies from H5N1 infection

Dec 3, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Chinese health officials reported today that a 24-year-old man from the eastern part of the country died of H5N1 avian influenza.

The man, from Jiangsu province, died yesterday, the provincial health department told Xinhua News, China's state news agency. If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the man's H5N1 illness he will become China's 26th case-patient and its 17th fatality.

He became ill on Nov 24 and was hospitalized 3 days later with "lower left lobe pneumonia", Xinhua reported. Samples were confirmed as positive for the H5N1 virus at Jiangsu Provincial Disease Control and Prevention Center, the report said.

Before the man became ill, he had been at home studying for an exam and eating home-cooked food, the Xinhua report said. The health department told the news service he had no known contact with sick or infected birds.

Sixty-nine people who had close contact with the man were placed under medical observation, and so far none have shown any H5N1 symptoms, the report said.

An official from the Jiangsu Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau told Xinhua that a mandatory order to vaccinate poultry against the H5N1 virus has been in effect since 2003. He also said that a recent survey revealed all poultry in the province had been vaccinated and that 92% of the birds had developed antibodies.

Veterinary officials also told Xinhua that at the poultry markets, all live birds are quarantined before being sent for sale.

China reported its last human H5N1 fatality in June, a 19-year-old soldier who got sick and died of the disease after serving in southeastern China's Fujian province, according to previous reports.

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