A two-year-old girl in China is battling to survive bird flu. It’s country’s second such case this month since Beijing reported the death of a teenaged girl who contracted the virus from ducks.
The case of the critical toddler, reported on Sunday from a northern province, comes at a time when millions of Chinese are on the move on public trains and buses for the annual spring holidays, starting January 26.
Avian influenza is a contagious disease among birds, but the virus can lethally transmit to humans in contact with infected birds or their droppings. Since the re-emergence of the H5N1 strain of the virus in 2003 in Asia, 392 human cases have been reported, of which at least 247 were fatal.
China, with the world's largest poultry population, is central to global efforts to control outbreaks. Since 2005, China has reported 32 human cases of bird flu, of which 21 were fatal. Officials have said the current cases could be isolated since the virus is more active between October-March.
But Beijingers are ready.
Since January 14, a bird flu alert pasted in this correspondent’s apartment lobby in Beijing's business district, urges residents to cook eggs and poultry thoroughly and seek medical attention for respiratory illnesses.