Fear of bird flu calls for WHO ‘immediate’ action after reports of two deaths following five new H5N6 cases in China

China has reported two deaths from bird flu after the WHO called for “immediate” action.

The number of people infected with bird flu has skyrocketed China Concerns have been raised last year by experts, who warned that the stress could be more contagious.

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Two people have died in China due to bird flu while three others are in hospitalCredit: AFP
The Staff Vaccinated The Chickens Against Bird Flu

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The staff vaccinated the chickens against bird fluCredit: Reuters

The Hong Kong The health department said five people in Sichuan Province, Zhejiang Province and the Guangxi Autonomous Region had been infected with the avian influenza strain in December last year.

Two are now dead, while three others are fighting for their lives at the hospital, officials said in a statement Statement.

A 75-year-old man from Luzhou, Sichuan Province, fell ill on December 1 after coming in contact with a domestic chicken.

He was taken to hospital four days later and died on December 12.

A 54-year-old man from Lesan in the same province fell ill on December 8 and died three weeks later on December 24.

He was also reported to have a history of contact with live domestic chickens.

A 51-year-old woman from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, fell ill on December 15 after coming in contact with a live domestic chicken.

He was taken to hospital on December 18 and authorities said his condition was serious.

The other two cases were recorded in Liuzhou, a city in the Guangxi Autonomous Region, according to the Hong Kong Department of Health.

A 53-year-old man with a history of contact with dead chickens fell ill on December 19 and is in hospital in critical condition.

A 28-year-old man from the same city also fell ill on December 23 and his condition is said to be critical.

It was not immediately clear how the second person became infected.

Since 2014, 65 people have been infected with H5N6 bird flu – but more than half of those were reported in the past six months.

The WHO said most of the cases were in contact with chickens and no human-to-human transmission had been confirmed.

But it says more research is “urgently needed” to understand the risks and the growing number of human cases.

Earlier, Thijs Kuiken, a professor of comparative pathology at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, warned: “The increase in human cases in China this year is a cause for concern.

“This variant may be slightly more contagious (in humans) … or the virus may be more prevalent in chickens now and so more people are becoming infected.”

Warning to passengers

China is the world’s largest producer and top producer of poultry, which serves as a repository for flu viruses.

Backyard farms are still common in China and many people still prefer to buy live chickens in the market.

Although avian influenza viruses are frequently transmitted to domestic and wild birds, they rarely infect humans.

But as chickens grow in population, the development of viruses is a major concern because they can turn into viruses that can easily spread to humans and cause epidemics.

In November last year, British health officials warned travelers to China about the risk of bird flu.

Dr Gavin Dabrara, an adviser on acute respiratory infections at UKHSA, said: “Anyone visiting China should be careful not to come in contact with any birds or live birds in the ‘wet market’.

“We continue to encourage people to avoid touching dead or dead birds and to maintain good hand hygiene while traveling.

“Avian influenza is still a risk factor in China and if travelers experience any flu-like symptoms within 10 days of returning from China, they should call their GP or NHS 111 to report their current trip.”

What is bird flu?

Bird flu is a contagious type of influenza that spreads to birds. In rare cases, it can affect people.

There are many different strains of the bird flu virus and most of them do not infect humans. But according to the NHS, there have been four strains of anxiety in recent years.

  • H5N1 (since 1997)
  • H7N9 (since 2013)
  • H5N6 (since 2014)
  • H5N8 (since 2016)

Although H5N1, H7N9 and H5N6 do not infect humans easily, many people around the world have been infected, resulting in many deaths.

H5N6 has been found in some wild birds in the UK – but this is a different strain for the H5N6 virus that has infected some people in China.

Bird flu is spread through infected birds – from close contact with the living or dead.

These include:

  • Touching infected birds
  • Touch or touch the bed
  • Killing or preparing infected chickens for cooking

It is important to note that even in areas where there is an outbreak of bird flu, you cannot catch bird flu by eating fully cooked chicken or eggs.

If you are visiting a foreign country where an outbreak has occurred, you should:

  • Wash your hands often with warm water and soap, especially before and after handling food on raw chicken.
  • Use different utensils for cooked and raw meat
  • Make sure the meat is cooked until hot steam
  • Stay away from contact with live birds and chickens

The main symptoms of bird flu may appear early and include:

  • Feeling very high temperature or hot or shivering
  • Sore muscles
  • Headache
  • Coughing or difficulty breathing
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Fear of bird flu calls for WHO 'immediate' action after reports of two deaths following five new H5N6 cases in China 4

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