Bird Flu Rears Its Ugly Head With Multiple Deaths in China
China is reporting its second bird flu death in one month. A 39-year-old man was the second casualty from the deadly H5N1 strain in less than one month. The first victim, also 39-years-old and a bus driver died on December 31st. The second victim was in southern China. He fell ill on January 6th and died on Sunday. The first victim was employed as a bus driver in Shenzhen, a city near Hong Kong. What is noteworthy about both of these deaths is that neither of the deceased victims appear to have had any contact or ties with birds or poultry of any kind in the month prior to contracting the virus.
The authorities are monitoring the 71 people that the latest victim came into contact with for signs of the flu virus, but to date, no one is evidencing any symptoms. The same is true of those individuals who had contact with the bus driver.
The bus driver was the first victim of the H5N1 virus in China in the last 18 months.
Vietnam reported its first death from the virus in more than 18 months when it reported that an 18-year-old duck farmer fell ill and died from the virus last week.
The World Health Organization is reporting that Cambodia reported the death of a 2-year-old who had contact with sick poultry and Indonesia reported one fatality from the virus.
Since 2003, the World Health Organization states that there have been 343 human deaths from the deadly bird flu virus.
Officials keep a watchful eye on China with regard to the H5N1 virus since it has the largest poultry population in the world. That fact, coupled with the numerous instances of humans and poultry residing in close quarters in the rural areas of the country, it is considered a breeding ground for the disease.
Scientists worry that the virus could mutate into a form that could cause a pandemic, killing millions.