Friday, March 02, 2007

Tick, Tick, Tick - H5N1 Virus Hits Woman In China

A health worker vaccinates a chicken against bird flu at a Chinese farm. Chinese farmers also have used an anti-viral made for humans on chickens. Image Credit: China Photos Via Getty Images (2005)

Tick, Tick, Tick - H5N1 Virus Hits Woman In China

Migrating birds are the suspected source of the first virus transfer in 2007 to a flock of chickens as China steps up its second-phase clinical trials effort to create a vaccine.

The unusually warm spring weather is expected to hamper health officials' efforts at curbing the spread of bird flu due to the fact that migrant birds may stay longer within the borders of China.

China has not reported a poultry outbreak since September 20 last year, although the health ministry in January confirmed that a man in the eastern province of Anhui had contracted bird flu but subsequently recovered.

Excerpts from China Daily -

First human bird flu case in 2007 reported
By Shan Juan (China Daily) - Updated: 2007-03-02 06:57

A new human case of H5N1 bird flu, the first this year, was confirmed in China.
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A 44-year-old woman from a remote village in East China's Fujian Province was diagnosed on February 18 as having the virus, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The villager, surnamed Li, had developed a fever after she had eaten two chickens she had raised.
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Li is reportedly in a serious condition at a local hospital. All who have had close contact with her are being closely monitored, although none have so far shown any symptoms of virus infection.

Zhang Changpin, vice-governor of the Fujian Province, has ordered the compulsory inoculation of all chickens, and has required local authorities to set up inoculation files and issue certificates for inoculated birds, Xinhua reported yesterday.

The Ministry of Health told Xinhua it had already notified the World Health Organization about the case.

Since 2003, the deadly virus has infected 22 people in China and killed 14.
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The virus remains essentially an animal disease, but experts fear it may mutate into a form that is easily transmitted to humans and trigger a pandemic.

The Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech, which is co-developing a H5N1 bird flu vaccine with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said it is ready for the second phase of clinical trials.

"Everything is ready for the second phase which will be carried out when the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) gives the nod," Chen Jiangting, director of the clinical trial research department of Sinovac told China Daily yesterday. "We filed the application last September."

She said the first phase of clinical trials on 120 volunteers showed the vaccine could provide 78 percent protection, and the figure meets the standard for seasonal flu vaccine set by the European Union.

"We are upbeat about the coming second phase of clinical trials," Chen said.

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