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Second bird flu death reported in China

A Chinese woman has died of bird flu, the second fatality within a month, the government said even as it warned of the possibility of an outbreak of the deadly disease.

world Updated: Jan 20, 2009 09:20 IST

A Chinese woman has died of bird flu, the second fatality within a month, the government said on Monday even as it warned of the possibility of an outbreak of the deadly disease.

A 27-year-old woman surnamed Zhang died in the east Chinese province of Shandong on Saturday, nearly two weeks after falling ill, the provincial health bureau was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Sunday.

The national disease prevention and control center on Sunday confirmed that she was infected with the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, the agency said.

This was the second case of bird flu death reported in China this year. Two weeks ago, a 19-year-old woman died in Beijing after handling ducks.

However, last week a two-year-old girl had also been diagnosed with bird flu in the province of Shanxi.

The toddler is now in hospital and her condition is said to be critical, meanwhile, China's Ministry of Agriculture yesterday said that no bird flu epidemics were detected in Shanxi and Henan provinces.

"With the approach of the Lunar New Year, the trade in poultry products is increasing, and there is a growing risk of the emergence and spread of epidemics," the agriculture ministry statement was quoted as saying by AFP.

The ministry called for a number of measures to counter the re-emerging threat, including stepped-up surveillance and increased production of poultry vaccines.

The week-long Lunar holiday, which begins today, sees most of the Chinese people travelling for family reunions that are characterised by big meals featuring poultry and other meats.