Feb 26, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Deaths from H5N1 avian influenza were reported today in two women, one from southern China and the other from Vietnam, as officials in Egypt announced that a 4-year-old girl has been hospitalized with an H5N1 infection.
China's health ministry reported that a 44-year-old woman from the city of Shanwei in Guangdong province died of an H5N1 infection yesterday, according to a statement today from the World Health Organization (WHO). Her death raises China's H5N1 count to 30 and its number of fatalities to 20.
The woman got sick on Feb 16 and was hospitalized 6 days later. China's national laboratory confirmed her infection yesterday, the WHO reported. An investigation into the source of her infection found that she had contact with sick and dead poultry before she became ill.
Chinese officials said the woman was a migrant worker from Sichuan province, Xinhua, China's state news agency, reported today. Personal contacts of the woman are under medical supervision, and so far all remain healthy, the WHO reported.
The woman's death is China's second fatality in less than a week. On Feb 22 the WHO reported that a 41-year-old man from Guangxi province died of an infection on Feb 20.
Meanwhile, health ministry officials in Vietnam today reported that a 23-year-old woman from Phu Tho province in the northern part of the country died yesterday of an H5N1 infection, the WHO reported today. Her illness pushed Vietnam's number of H5N1 cases to 105, and her death raises the fatality count to 51, according to the WHO.
The woman got sick on Feb 14 and was hospitalized 5 days later. Investigators found that she had contact with sick and dead poultry before she got sick, the WHO reported.
The woman worked as a teacher, according to a report today from Reuters.
Elsewhere, the health ministry in Egypt today confirmed that a 4-year-old girl from Menia governorate, about 100 miles south of Cairo, is sick with an H5N1 infection and is being treated in a Cairo hospital, the Associated Press reported. If her illness is confirmed by the WHO, the girl will become Egypt's 44th case-patient and the country's first H5N1 case this year.
Media reports on the girl's illness gave no details on the possible source of her H5N1 infection; however, women and children are known as the primary caretakers of backyard poultry in Egypt.
The two newly confirmed H5N1 infections raise the WHO's global count to 368 cases and 234 deaths.
Feb 26 WHO statement on Chinese death
Feb 26 WHO statement on Vietnamese death