Global Alert and Response (GAR)

Avian influenza – situation in China – update 14

14 August 2006

The Ministry of Health in China has confirmed the country’s 21st case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus.

The case occurred in a 62-year-old male farmer from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the north-western part of the country. He developed symptoms on 19 June and died on 12 July. Initial tests on patient specimens produced negative results. As a precautionary measure, tests were repeated during July and August and eventually produced positive results, which were confirmed today by the Ministry of Health.

An epidemiological investigation of the case was unable to uncover a history of exposure to dead or diseased birds. The man had no history of travel during the month prior to symptom onset. No recent poultry outbreaks have been reported in the vicinity of the man’s home. The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region had not previously reported a human case.

Of the 21 cases confirmed to date in China, 14 have been fatal.

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