A man in east China's Jiangsu province died of bird flu on Sunday, the provincial health department reported.
The 24-year-old man, surnamed Lu, developed fever, chills and other symptoms on Nov. 24 and was hospitalized on Nov. 27 after being diagnosed with "lower left lobe pneumonia". Lu's condition deteriorated after he was hospitalized and he died on Sunday.
Lu was the 17th Chinese to die of avian flu so far.
A respiratory tract sample from the man that was examined by Jiangsu Provincial Disease Control and Prevention Center on Saturday was H5N1 positive. H5N1 refers to the genetic make-up of the virus.
The man had not had any contact with infected or deceased fowl, the health department said.
A test done by the China Disease Control and Prevention Center on Sunday also indicated that the man was H5N1 positive.
In line with the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of avian flu infection and Chinese standards as well, the bird flu prevention and control expert panel of the Chinese Ministry of Health concluded that Lu had been infected with bird flu.
The local government has taken prevention and control measures. All of the 69 people who had close contact with Lu have been put under strict medical observation. So far, they have shown no signs of the disease.
The Ministry of Health has reported the case to the WHO, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and some foreign governments.
Jiangsu-based specialists for prevention and control of the disease said bird flu was an infectious disease shared by poultry and man, but human infections were mainly caused by contact with dead or diseased domestic fowl or spread by migratory birds.
No cases of human-to-human transmission of the flu have been reported, according to these experts.
The Jiangsu Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau said no bird flu epidemic had been discovered in the province so far. China has reported 26 human cases of bird flu since 2003, which have resulted in 17 deaths, including this latest fatality. Scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form that could pass easily from person to person, sparking a global pandemic.
(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2007)