Avian influenza – situation in China – update 5
27 February 2006
The Ministry of Health in China has reported two additional laboratory confirmed cases of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. Both patients are in critical conditions.
The first patient is a 9-year-old girl from the eastern province of Zhejiang. She developed symptoms on 10 February. Symptom onset followed a visit to relatives in the adjacent province of Anhui. No animal outbreaks have been reported in Zhejiang Province since 2004.
The second patient is a 26-year-old female farmer from Anhui Province. She developed symptoms on 11 February following contact with diseased poultry. Local agricultural officials have reported isolation of the H5N1 virus in samples from dead poultry in her neighbourhood.
To date, China has reported 14 laboratory-confirmed cases. Of these, eight have been fatal.
The H5N1 virus is now considered to be endemic in birds in large parts of China. WHO is working with national authorities to increase public awareness of the disease, encourage populations to report outbreaks, and warn people to avoid contact with dead or ill birds.