A 49-year-old man from Nanchong in Sichuan has been confirmed as the world’s first fatality from the H5N6 bird flu virus, Apple Daily reported Wednesday, citing provincial authorities.
The man was exposed to dead poultry before succumbing to acute pneumonia, the report said. But it was not clear when he first showed symptoms or died. Family and friends of the deceased have not shown any symptoms of bird flu.
The virus was detected in some chickens in the city and the municipal authorities killed 1,338 suspected infected poultry to prevent the virus from spreading, the report said.
Some experts say there is a low risk of the H5N6 virus infecting humans and spreading but Ho Pak-leung, president of the University of Hong Kong’s Center for Infection, was quoted as saying that, although H5N6 is rare in chickens, it could have mixed with the H5N1 strain and infectious. Ho said there is no major threat to Hong Kong residents because imports of live chickens from the mainland are still banned.
Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection said it is on the lookout for other H5N6 fatalities.
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control has raised its three-level travel alert for Sichuan to level 2, the report said.
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