Emergencies preparedness, response

Avian influenza – situation in China – update 51

30 December 2005

The Ministry of Health of China has confirmed an additional case of human infection on the mainland with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. The case is a 41-year-old woman from the south-eastern province of Fujian. She developed symptoms of fever followed by pneumonia on 6 December, and was admitted to hospital two days later. The patient died on 21 December.

On 13 December, initial laboratory tests on samples from the patient tested negative for H5N1. But further tests on 23 December – including PCR tests carried out at the Chinese Center for Disease Control in Beijing – showed positive results. The virus was also isolated from the patient.

Close contacts who have been placed under medical observation have not displayed any symptoms, health authorities report.

Agricultural authorities so far have not been able to confirm the presence of the H5 virus subtype in poultry in the vicinity of the patient’s residence or place of work. Investigators have not been able to confirm any direct contact between the patient and poultry prior to the onset of illness. The investigation, however, is continuing and answers to these and other questions are still being sought.

This is China’s seventh laboratory-confirmed human case. Of these cases, three have been fatal (including this latest case). To date, China has reported human cases in six provinces and regions: Hunan, Anhui, Guangxi, Liaoning, Jiangxi and Fujian.