China confirms third person dead from H5N1 bird flu strain

WORLD DIGEST

December 30, 2005

BEIJING -- China confirmed its third human death from bird flu yesterday, saying a 41-year-old woman from the country's southeast succumbed to the virulent H5N1 strain.

The woman died Dec. 21, two weeks after falling ill, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Lab tests confirmed the infection.

It was unclear how the woman, a factory worker in Sanming, a city in coastal Fujian province, contracted the virus. Doctors found no bird flu symptoms among people in close contact with her, and no outbreaks have been detected in animals in the area, Xinhua said.

Health officials have warned that China could face new infections in winter and spring, especially during the Lunar New Year holiday in January, when large shipments of poultry are moved around the country to supply family banquets.

China's mainland has suffered seven human cases of bird flu. The country also had a suspected case in a 12-year-old girl who died. China has reported 26 outbreaks in poultry since Oct. 19.

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