Created on: February 11, 2013
China’s health ministry confirmed Sunday that there have been two human cases of H5N1 bird flu, otherwise known as the Avian Flu, in the southwestern city of Guiyang and both patients are reported to be in critical condition, according to the official state news agency Xinhua.
The patients have been identified as a 21-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, who were both tested positive for bird flu after they developed symptoms on Feb. 2 and Feb. 3, respectively. It was reported that the two individuals were not in any contact with birds.
People who have been in close contact with the two patients are under medical observation and are being monitored closely. So far, none of the individuals have any symptoms or have been found ill. Symptoms usually include high fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and pneumonia
“They are in critical condition and medical workers are carrying out emergency treatment," the ministry said in a statement released over the weekend. "No epidemiological connections have been found between the two cases."
In most cases, bird flu is contracted when humans make direct contact with infected birds, mostly by consuming chicken. However, there have been cases of human-to-human transmissions and health officials fear this could mutate into such a virus and spread to individuals who do not have natural immunity to it. The illness is profuse in a bird’s feces and respiratory secretions.
Experts tell Reuters that they consider China to be one of the nations most at risk for bird flu epidemics because it maintains the largest chicken population and a lot of them are raised in rural areas close to human beings.
China is currently celebrating the Lunar New Year and millions are travelling in crowded buses, trains and other forms of transportation. This seriously raises the risk of spreading the infectious disease.
The Global Post reported Sunday that Cambodia recorded its fifth death after a five-year-old girl, who had been in contact with poultry, passed away after contracting the bird flu. The Department of Livestock Service confirmed that it has been culling chickens and destroying chicken feed. This had been the eighth case of bird flu in the Kathmandu Valley.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since the major outbreak in 2003, the bird flu virus has killed more than 365 people across the world. The H5N1 virus has infected roughly 600 people in the past 17 years when it was first detected in Hong Kong.
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