Chinese officials announced another case of H5N6 bird flu after a person in mainland China fell seriously ill after testing positive for the virus.
According to the Hong Kong Health Department, the latest case is a 51-year-old woman from Nanchang, Jiangxi province, who developed symptoms on February 20 after exposure to live domestic poultry.
The woman was hospitalized three days later and still in critical condition.
Health officials said the total number of cases is now 17 this year, including five reported deaths.
Last week, China reported that a 12-year-old girl and a 79-year-old man died of H5N6 bird flu in early December.
Both victims lived in Liuzhou in the Guangxi region and visited a live poultry market before falling ill.
H5N6 bird flu is known to cause severe illness in humans of all ages and has killed nearly half of those infected, according to WHO.
“The increasing trend of human infection with avian influenza virus has become an important public health issue that cannot be ignored,” researchers said in a study published by China’s Center for Disease Control in September, highlighting several mutations in two recent cases of H5N6 bird flu.
Earlier that month, the World Health Organization said the risk of human-to-human transmission remains low because H5N6 has not acquired the ability to sustain transmission between humans.
However, the spokesperson added that increased surveillance was “urgently required” to understand better the rising number of human cases.
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