Latest Chinese Avian Flu Case Raises Concern

A World Health Organization representative in China and the official Xinhua news agency confirmed Saturday that the father of a young man who died of avian influenza Dec. 2 is himself recovering from the disease, which raises the possibility he was infected through human-to-human transmission. A preliminary investigation indicated the son, who was 24 years old at the time of his death, had not had contact with sick birds before he developed symptoms Nov. 24.

News agencies, including Voice of America and Bloomberg, reported the father's illness Saturday. WHO's latest update on China's avian flu situation, dated Dec. 4, does not mention the father's illness. It says 26 human cases of H5N1 illness have been confirmed in China so far, and 17 of those have been fatal.

The father and son cases are in the eastern Jiangsu province, where no outbreak of H5N1 among wild or domesticated birds has been reported thus far, VOA reported.

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