Published Date: 2009-01-18 18:04:55
Subject: PRO/MBDS> Avian influenza, human - China (03): Shandong, fatal
Archive Number: 20090118.0219
AVIAN INFLUENZA, HUMAN - CHINA (03): SHANDONG, FATAL
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 19 Jan 2009
Source: Shanghai Daily [edited]
A 27-year-old woman died of bird flu in east China's Shandong
Province, the country's 2nd death from the H5N1 virus this month
[January 2009], health authorities said yesterday [18 Jan 2009].
In addition to those cases, earlier in the day, a 2-year-old in
Shanxi Province who was exposed to the virus was reported to be in
The Shandong woman lived in Jinan, the provincial capital. She fell
ill on [5 Jan 2009] and died on Saturday evening [17 Jan 2009].
The national disease prevention and control center confirmed
yesterday [18 Jan 2009] that she was infected with the H5N1 strain of
People who had been in close contact with Zhang were placed under
observation, but none have exhibited symptoms of the disease.
The case was reported to the World Health Organization. [Another
newswire added: "China has reported the case to the World Health
Organization (WHO), as well as health authorities in Hong Kong, Macau
and Taiwan, according to the China News Service."
In Shanxi Province, the 2-year-old was confirmed to be infected with
the same virus on Saturday [17 Jan 2009]. Checks of the 67 people who
had been in close contact with her turned up no signs of infection.
The girl became ill on [7 Jan 2009] in central China's Hunan Province
and was taken to a hospital in her home province [Hunan] on [11 Jan
2009], an official with the provincial health department said.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement on its website that the
girl was transferred to another hospital after her symptoms grew worse.
The ministry did not say how the girl had become infected. There have
not been any reports of outbreaks of the virus among birds in Hunan
since May 2007.
"Currently, the girl's condition is critical. Shanxi health
departments are fighting to save her with the guidance of a team of
health experts," the Ministry of Health said.
It added that the [WHO] and health authorities in Hong Kong and Macau
had been notified.
"We are staying in close contact with the health ministry," a
spokeswoman from the WHO's China office said.
The earlier fatality involved a 19-year-old woman who died in Beijing
on [5 Jan 2009] after buying ducks at a market in Hebei Province,
which surrounds the Chinese capital. It was the 1st human infection
in almost a year [see prior PRO/MBDS postings referenced below for
reports on other human H5N1 infections reported from China in January
and February 2008].
Experts said [that the] case [from Beijing] was not unexpected as the
virus is more active during the cooler months between October and
March, but they also said it pointed to holes in the virus
surveillance system covering poultry.
The Ministry of Agriculture said last week it had found no bird flu
among poultry in Beijing or nearby areas.
The H5N1 virus remains largely a disease among birds, but experts
fear it could change into a form that is easily transmitted among
humans and spark a pandemic.
[The above mentioned fatal case of H5N1 in a resident of Shandong
province is now the 3rd report of confirmed H5N1 infection in humans
in China since the beginning of 2009. Of note, in all 3 instances,
reports of illness in humans pre-dated reports of confirmation of
H5N1 infection in poultry in the areas where contact between the
humans and poultry occurred, an observation that has occurred in
other countries where human infection with H5N1 has occurred and
highlights challenges facing disease surveillance efforts in the
region. That being said, the confirmation of 3 human H5N1 infections
in as many weeks in China may well reflect improvements in the
disease surveillance efforts, with a heightened awareness on the part
of the health sector to consider H5N1 infection and obtain and send
specimens for laboratory diagnosis.
For a map of China with provinces, see
For the interactive HealthMap/ProMED map of China with links to other
recent outbreaks in neighboring countries reported on ProMED, see
<http://healthmap.org/promed/en?v=36.5,103.9,4>. - Mod.MPP]