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New Human Case of Bird Flu Confirmed in China
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In south China's Guangdong Province it's been confirmed that a 31-year-old man, described as a migrant worker, has contracted bird flu bringing the country's total number of people infected to 19, the Chinese Ministry of Health said Thursday.

The patient, surnamed Jiang, is a migrant worker in Shenzhen City. He had fever and pneumonia on June 3 and has been hospitalized since. He is listed as in critical condition, the ministry said in a report.

Researchers found that before developing symptoms Jiang had visited a local market several times where live poultry was being sold.

Jiang's tested positive for H5N1 at the Shenzhen Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the provincial and national centers. 

It's been confirmed he's infected with bird flu according to standards set by the World Health Organization and the Chinese government, said the ministry. They've reported the new case to the WHO, China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions and several foreign countries.

Local health authorities on Tuesday said they suspected Jiang had bird flu.  All 98 people who had close contact with Jiang tested negative for the disease, the local health bureau said yesterday.

The health department of neighboring Hong Kong on Tuesday warned the public to be vigilant about bird flu and Macao health authorities announced on Wednesday it would halt the import of live poultry from Shenzhen.

Jiang is the 19th human case of bird flu reported in China. Of the previous 18 cases, 12 have died. Globally, 225 human infections, including 128 deaths, have been recorded by the WHO.

Health experts fear the bird flu virus could mutate into a form which could easily pass between people, causing a global pandemic.

The Chinese government is "keeping a close eye on bird flu and have strengthened scientific research and nationwide surveillance," Ministry of Health spokesman Mao Qun'an said on Monday.

One day later a Shanghai-based company was approved by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) to produce a generic form of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu.

Tests have shown the domestic drug was as effective and safe on humans as the imported version, the SFDA said.

Tamiflu is an anti-viral drug considered the most effective treatment available to counter the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

On Wednesday the Ministry of Agriculture said China had developed three new kinds of bird flu vaccines for use on birds.

(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2006)

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