The health department of southeast China's Fujian Province confirmed on Wednesday a human case of bird flu in Jian'ou city.
The 44-year-old farmer surnamed Li developed symptoms of fever, coughing, and expectoration on Feb. 18, according to local health authorities. The patient is now receiving treatment at a local hospital and is in severe condition.
Tests by the provincial disease control and prevention center show that Li is infected with bird flu virus strain H5N1. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention verified the test result on Feb.27. It has been confirmed that she made contact with dead fowls.
Local health authorities said they are carefully monitoring those who have recently had close contact with the patient. So far, no one else has showed symptoms of the disease.
Senior officials of the province held a special meeting to adopt measures preventing an outbreak of the epidemic, said the official, who declined to give his name.
Zhang Changpin, vice governor of the province, has ordered compulsory inoculation on all fowls, and required local authorities to set up inoculation files and issue certificates to inoculated animals.
The health, stock-raising, and forestry authorities at all levels are on high alert and closely monitoring the situation.
He also asked local workers to quarantine and check the animals at every stage of processing, including when they leave the farms, enter slaughterhouses, and are put in the market. Those who fail to do so will be punished accordingly.
Li is the country's first human case of bird flu in about seven weeks since China reported on Jan. 10 that a 37-year-old farmer in east China's Anhui Province had contracted bird flu. That patient has since recovered.
The virus is responsible for the deaths of 14 people in China since 2003.
According to Fujian health authorities, China's Health Ministry has conveyed all information about the case to WHO, as well as health agencies in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and some other countries.
(Xinhua News Agency March 1, 2007)