Chinese man dies in first bird flu case since 2010
A 39-year-old Chinese bus driver died Saturday in a hospital just outside of Hong Kong after testing positive for the H5N1 virus, otherwise known as bird flu.
The bus driver, surnamed Chen, was hospitalized on Dec. 25 with pneumonic symptoms. He died early Saturday afternoon in a Shenzhen hospital of multiple organ failure.
This case of a human contracting the bird flu is the first the country has seen since 2010. Chen reportedly had no direct contact with poultry or other birds in the month prior to his sickness, but two dead chickens in Hong Kong recently tested positive for the virus. Chen did not leave the city of Shenzhen, where he resided, and the 120 people Chen had contact with have not yet developed any of the flu’s symptoms.
Humans rarely contract the H5N1 virus, but among those who do, nearly 60 percent of infected individuals die from the virus. The World Health Organization recorded 336 human deaths from 573 bird flu cases. Forty of these cases were in China, yielding 26 deaths.
The virus has become prevalent in China during the cooler months of the year. Officials are concerned about the spread of the bird flu and other infectious diseases around this time of year, as many people are traveling to celebrate the Chinese Lunar Year.