China reports human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) in Jiangsu


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Health officials in Hong Kong have reported a human case of avian influenza A (H5N1) on the mainland.

H5N1 avian influenza
Photo / Cynthia Goldsmith / Jackie Katz

The case is of a 53-year-old woman from Jiangsu, who was exposed to live poultry before she developed symptoms. She developed symptoms on January 31, was admitted for treatment on February 4 and was in serious condition.

From 2005 to date, 55 human cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) have been reported by mainland health authorities.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly contagious, severe respiratory illness called avian influenza (or “bird flu”). Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza virus occasionally occur, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. When people become infected, the death rate is about 60%.

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Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with close contact with live or dead infected birds or environments contaminated with H5N1 virus. The virus does not easily infect humans, and its spread from person to person seems unusual.

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