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China Confirms Human Death From Bird Flu

China's Ministry of Health has confirmed a 16-year-old boy had died from the bird flu in eastern Anhui Province, bringing the number of people who have been killed by the virus to 15.


The student, surnamed Wu from Bengbu City of Anhui, died on Tuesday in hospital after being treated there for ten days, a spokesman for the Anhui provincial health department said.


The boy developed symptoms of pneumonia, fever and muscle aches on March 17. He was admitted to hospital on March 18, the spokesman said.


Tests by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday confirmed that he had been infected with the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.


Local health authorities said they are monitoring those who had close contact with the patient. So far they have not shown symptoms of the disease, and there has been no reported outbreak of the disease among local fowl.


The local authority has not provided information on how the young student may have contracted the disease.


Last December, a 37-year-old farmer in the province was confirmed to have contracted the H5N1 strain of bird flu. The patient surnamed Li was discharged from hospital on Jan. 6 after a full recovery.


According to Anhui health authorities, the Health Ministry has informed the World Health Organization, health agencies in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and some foreign countries.


China has reported a total of 24 human cases of bird flu since 2003.


On Feb. 28, a 44-year-old woman in southeast China's Fujian Province was confirmed by the health ministry to have contracted the bird flu virus. The patient, surnamed Li who is still being treated in hospital, had eaten chicken together with her family, but neither her husband nor son have fallen ill. The bird flu virus has killed at least 167 people worldwide since 2003, according to the World Health Organization. Indonesia, worst-hit by the virus, has reported 70 human deaths of the bird flu, the country's health ministry said on Thursday.


(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2007)

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