China Reports Two H5N6 Bird Flu Deaths

Chinese health officials at the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reported two deaths caused by the H5N6 virus on Thursday, September 30, prompting officials to intensify observations of the ongoing surge of isolated cases.

A total of 43 cases of avian influenza A (H5N6) in humans have been reported in mainland China since 2014,  with forty percent of the cases reported in the past  year.

The Hong Kong Health Department said that it recorded the death of a woman in southern China on Wednesday, September 29; and two cases on Thursday, one of whom died, in mainland China. 

The woman, aged 26, had been in contact with live domestic poultry before detecting symptoms on August 14 and was admitted to the hospital five days later, and succumbed to the H5N6 virus. 

Mainland China recorded two recent cases of the H5N6 including a 55-year old man who visited a poultry market before observing symptoms on August 23 who was brought to the hospital seven days later and has been in critical condition since. The other case concerned a 72-year-old man who was exposed to sick poultry, was hospitalized three days after he developed symptoms, and eventually died.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that the H5N6 bird flu causes severe illness in humans, killing more than half of those infected by the disease. So far, confirmed cases of human-to-human transmissions have not been recorded. 

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