China Bird Flu Alert: 11 Quarantined Due To H5N2 Avian Influenza Virus

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 24, 2013 9:28 AM EST

About 11 people in north China's Hebei Province were quarantined on Monday after health authorities confirmed they had direct contact with chicken infected with H5N2 avian influenza virus.

Among the victims included the farm owner and his wife. Xinhua News reported the epidemic prevention workers provided the daily necessities of the patients led by Zhang Wenguang, head of the district agriculture bureau. The group's body temperature and other indicators are monitored daily.

Four new human cases of H7N9 bird flu reported from Dec. 15-19 were confirmed in south China's Guangdong Province.

A contagious disease caused by viruses that usually infect birds and less commonly pigs, the bird flu or avian influenza is found fatal to humans.

The farm where the new H5N2 avian influenza virus was discovered has been isolated. The parametres set was within 3 kilometers of the poultry farm.

A total of 125,700 infected chickens have been culled and safely disposed. From the total, 4,000 chickens reportedly have been directly infected.

On Wednesday, Chinese media reported a 73-year-old woman has died from the new strain of virus in the eastern province of Jiangxi.

Another strain of bird flu, known as H10N8, has likewise been found in East China's Jiangxi Province. One person has been reportedly infected.

China has 142 cases of new strains of bird, H7N9, since it was first detected in March 2013. At least 45 have died from this deadly virus.

Four new human cases of H7N9 bird flu were detected and confirmed earlier this week in the southern province of Guangdong.

Scientists from Shantou University and the University of Hong Kong said in May 2013 the H7N9 bird flu may have spread through the air from one cage to another.

Richard Webby, a virologist at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., said the H7N9 virus is seen to mutate over time, thus becoming more transmissible in humans as time goes by.

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