Bird flu claims another victim in China

2012-01-22 15:51

Beijing - A man in southwest China who contracted the bird flu virus died on Sunday, state media reported, the second human death in the Asian country from the virulent disease in just under a month.

The victim fell ill on January 6 and was subsequently admitted to hospital in Guiyang - capital of Guizhou province - where his condition rapidly deteriorated, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Tests confirmed he had contracted the H5N1 avian influenza virus, it added.

The Hong Kong Department of Health said in a statement on Sunday it had been notified of the case by the mainland's health authorities, which said the 39-year-old patient had not had any obvious exposure to poultry.

He is the second man to die from bird flu in China in less than a month, after a bus driver in the southern province of Guangdong passed away from the disease on December 31.

The H5N1 virus is fatal in humans in about 60% of cases.

However, it does not pass easily among humans, and the World Health Organization says it has never identified a "sustained human-to-human spread" of the virus since it re-emerged in 2003.

  • Tarryn - 2012-01-22 19:19

    This is quite scare.. Influenza viruses mutate and mix genes with our standard influenza pretty easily if co-infected with both viruses.. This is lethal about 50-60% of the time and knocks over seemingly healthy people.. If this mutates and starts spreading rampantly it will be the death of about 3billion people on the planet.. lethal influenza pandemic last occured in 1918 and killed millions.. its a ticking timebomb and its coming soon..

      Marc - 2012-01-22 22:40

      Three billion you say, Tarryn. Well, that’s a lot but I hope you're right. We can certainly spare 'em. A lethal flu pandemic in 1918 - I must say, I didn't know that, although one must bear in mind that the First World War which ended in November 1918 had ironed out quite a few itself. About 17 million dead and around 20 million casualties, many of them maimed in quite unusually grotesque ways, not really seen in the same way before or since. So, naturally, a few fatal sneezes that happened after it ended are easy to slip the mind. The Malthusian promise will come to roost sooner or later, and what more deserving venue for its beginning than the seething, rhino-horn sniffing hordes of the east.

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