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Woman Dies of Suspected Bird Flu

A 44-year-old woman who was suspected of having bird flu died in a hospital on Monday in south China's Guangdong Province, the provincial health department confirmed.

The woman, surnamed Zhang, died at 9:25 AM in the Peng Pai memorial hospital in Haifeng County, after all efforts by doctors proved futile, according to the health department.

Zhang, a migrant worker from Sichuan Province, was found to have had contact with poultry that had died of the illness. She had developed symptoms of fever and a cough since February 16, the department said.

Zhang was transferred to the said hospital last Friday. She was then diagnosed as pneumonia from unknown source of infection.

Her specimens tested positive for the bird flu virus strain H5N1, the department said.

The local government undertook prevention and control measures once the case was reported. Those who had close contact with Zhang were put under strict medical observation. So far, none have shown signs of the disease.

Zhang's death brought the number of confirmed human bird flu cases in China to 30 since 2003. She is also the 20th to be killed by the disease.

On February 18, the Ministry of Health confirmed that a 22-year-old man surnamed Li in the central province of Hunan tested positive for H5N1. He died on January 16 at 5:00 PM.

On February 20, a 41-year-old man surnamed Liang, who had tested positive for H5N1, died in Nanning, capital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

World Health Organization statistics show as of February 1, human bird flu infections had claimed 225 lives worldwide.

(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2008)

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