China Reports 15th Human H5N1 Death

The World Health Organization yesterday said China's Ministry of Health had reported a new fatal case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. Confirmed by the national laboratory, the case involved a 16-year-old male from Anhui province who developed fever and pneumonia-like symptoms on March 17 and was hospitalized March 20. He died March 27.

"There is no initial indication to suggest he had contact with sick birds prior to becoming unwell and investigations to identify the source of his exposure are ongoing," WHO said. "Close contacts have been placed under medical observation and all remain well." The report said 24 cases have been confirmed to date in China, 15 of them fatal.

Egypt's Ministry of Health and Population also announced two new human cases of H5N1 infection this week and said both have been confirmed by the Egyptian Central Public Health Laboratory and by the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3). One is a 6-year-old girl hospitalized March 25 with symptoms, the other a 5-year-old boy hospitalized the same day. Both children were exposed to sick birds, WHO said, which said 13 of the 29 confirmed cases to date in Egypt have been fatal.

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