SE China Province on Alert After Human Case of Bird Flu Confirmed

March 1, 2007
Local markets for live fowls and processed fowl products have been suspended of trading since a new case of human infection of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu virus was found in Jian’ou, a city in east China’s Fujian Province, late last month.
Local health authorities early on Thursday informed the public of the confirmation of the case.
In an interview with Xinhua on Thursday, an official from Jian’ou, a county-level city under jurisdiction of Nanping City, admitted that a five-level reporting network, from the levels of the village through to the province, had been put into operation around the clock.
“With the network in place, which is led by Vice Governor Zhang Changping and more leaders of governments at lower levels, information of any new infections can be reported in time so that actions can be taken accordingly to prevent a possible outbreak,” said the official, who asked not to be identified.
Information from the provincial health bureau said that a 44-year-old farmer surnamed Li in Jian’ou city in the province was infected with bird flu virus lethal strain H5N1.
Li developed symptoms including fever and pneumonia on Feb. 18.
Later lab work by the provincial disease control and prevention center showed that the patient has been infected with bird flu virus strain H5N1 and the test result was confirmed by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Feb. 27.
On the same day, senior officials of the province held a special meeting to adopt measures to prevent a possible outbreak of the disease.
At the meeting, Vice Governor Zhang Changping, who is appointed as commander-in-chief of Fujian Provincial Headquarters for Prevention and Control of Major Animal and Plant Diseases, ordered compulsory inoculation on all fowls, and required local authorities to set up inoculation files and issue certificates to inoculated animals.
Zhang told the health, stock-raising and forestry authorities at all levels to be on high alert and closely monitor the situation.
Zhang also asked local workers to quarantine and check animals at every stage — farms, slaughter houses and the market. Those who failed should be punished accordingly, said Zhang.
Li, the patient who was confirmed to have made contact with dead fowls, has been receiving treatment at the local hospital. She is said to be in critical condition.
Local health authorities said they are closely monitoring those who had had close contact with Li. So far, they showed no symptoms of the highly pathogenic avian disease.
Li is the country’s first human case of bird flu in about seven weeks since China reported on Jan. 10 that a 37-year-old farmer in east China’s Anhui Province had contracted bird flu but had recovered.
The virus has killed 14 people in China since 2003.
According to Fujian health authorities, China’s Health Ministry has conveyed the information to the World Health Organization, and health agencies of the regions of Hong Kong and Macao and Taiwan Province, and some other countries.
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