Chinese bus driver dies in first confirmed case of bird flu since 2010
A bus driver from southern China died on Saturday shortly after testing positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus. This was the first confirmed case of humans contracting the bird flu in the country since 18 months ago, health officials said.
The man, identified only by his surname, Chen, died in the wealthy city of Shenzhen, an industrial town bordering Hong Kong, where thousand of birds were recently slaughtered after two birds were to confirmed to be carrying the H5N1 virus.
Health officials said that Chen first began developing symptoms on December 21, and was hospitalized only four days later. He was initially thought to have a severe case of pneumonia, but after testing he was found to be infected by the bird flu virus.
The H5N1 virus is typically contracted after coming into direct contact with poultry infected by the virus, but Shenzhen health officials say that Chen had no contact with poultry recently, nor did he leave Shenzhen in recent months.
The World Health Organization says that cases of the H5N1 virus are fatal in upwards of 60 percent of confirmed cases. Fortunately, the virus isn’t easily transmissible from human to human, and WHO says that, so far, there has been no reports of it spreading between humans since its emergence back in 2003.
[Image credit: ALAMY]