Hong Kong Reports Second Death Caused By Bird Flu

Hong Kong health officials reported a second death from the avian strain of the bird flu late Friday.

The victim was described as an 80-year-old man who lives in the mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen, the same place in which the first victim resided.

Authorities say the man had spent two weeks in a Shenzhen hospital, receiving treatment for a chronic illness, before traveling to Hong Kong on Tuesday.

The man checked into a local hospital where he developed a fever on Friday and was immediately placed in isolation after tests revealed he was infected with the H7N9 avian influenza.

This case follows the one of a 36-year-old Indonesian woman, which was disclosed on Monday by the Hong Kong Center for Health and Protection.

The woman had traveled across the border to Shenzhen, where she purchased, slaughtered, and then ate a chicken.

The H7N9 strain of the bird flu has only recently begun affecting humans, as it has been transmitted between birds up until this time.

A report published in October by the World Health Organization says that so far, the H7N9 has infected 136 people across 12 Chinese provinces, killing 45 of them.

Most of the cases happened in March and April, with very low incidences in the summer months. Now that the official flu season is upon Hong Kong authorities are more vigilant.

But authorities caution that there is no need to panic, as they believe the virus is not being transmitted from human to human, but from birds to humans.

The revelation of the second case of H7N9 in Hong Kong, a city of 7 million people, raises concern that a pandemic can take place, as the Asian city is notorious for virulent outbreaks.

With its many entry points of entry, authorities are challenged to control large numbers of people coming into the city and have set up body temperature measuring devices as tourists and travelers come to visit.

As in the case of the Indonesian woman, the second victim’s family and close friends have been placed in isolation to determine if they could be infected.

Some of the woman’s family and friends had reportedly been affected by flu-like symptoms.

Authorities are still searching for the taxi driver that took the man and some of his friends from the Shenzhen Bay immigration checkpoint to the hospital.

After the second case of the bird flu was reported in Hong Kong, the Serious Response Level has been activated, under the government’s preparedness plan for influenza pandemic.