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China Reports Eighth Flu Death; Says Dead Poultry Might Spread Virus
The Associated Press (apwire)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2006-02-11 21:48 (KST)   
By JOE MCDONALD
Associated Press Writer
BEIJING

China has reported its eighth human death from bird flu and says researchers suspect contamination from dead poultry might be to blame for cases that have occurred in areas without outbreaks in birds.

The latest death was a 20-year-old female farmer from the county of Suining in the southern province of Hunan, the Health Ministry said Friday on its Web site. It identified her only by the surname Long and said she had handled poultry.

Long fell ill Jan. 27 and died Feb. 4, the ministry said. It said laboratory tests confirmed she had the virulent H5N1 flu strain, and said the results were reported to the World Health Organization.

It was the second death reported this week, following an announcement Wednesday that a 26-year-old woman in an area with no reported outbreaks in poultry died of the H5N1 strain.

The woman in Hunan was China's 12th bird flu case, and the government says one-third of them were in areas with no cases in poultry.

"According to expert analysis, the reason for these cases is that poultry that died of the virus contaminated their surroundings," a ministry spokesman, Mao Chun'an, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

However, Mao was quoted as saying, "we still don't have precise information as to a specific channel for (spreading infection in) these human cases of bird flu."

The report didn't give any other details.

China has reported 29 bird flu outbreaks in poultry since October in areas throughout the country. The government has destroyed millions of chickens, ducks and other poultry to contain them.

Also Friday, the government said 35 farm workers have been put under medical observation after an outbreak killed 15,000 birds on their farm in the northern city of Yangquan, in Shanxi province.

The farm workers have been confined to their homes and are receiving medical checkups twice a day, Xinhua said, citing provincial officials.

Authorities have destroyed 187,745 poultry within three kilometers (two miles) of the farm in an effort to contain the outbreak, Xinhua said.
©2006 OhmyNews
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