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Bird flu boy in China is isolated case

The chances of a major bird flu outbreak in China is slim as all of the contacts of a 2-year-old boy who tested positive for the H5N1 strain of avian influenza recently were either asymptomatic or tested negative for bird flu, authorities of the special administrative region and Guangdong province have said.

The boy, who is being kept isolated in the pediatric intensive care unit, is still in serious condition after a week of treatment in Hong Kong. It is the city's first human case of bird flu in 18 months. The boy is thought to have been infected with the deadly virus during his visit to a wet market in Guangzhou last month.

Hong Kong kept the bird flu alert level at "serious" after raising it on Friday, and stricter visiting restrictions were imposed in the city's public hospitals.

Imports and sales of poultry have continued as usual – unlike in December, when an infected live chicken was found. Samples collected from 30 local chicken farms on Sunday all tested negative for bird flu, a spokesperson from the city's agriculture, fisheries and conservation department said.

York Chow Yat-ngok, secretary for food and health, assured the public that it was an "isolated" case and the city is well guarded against all types of infectious diseases.

The boy, who lives with his parents and maternal grandmother in the Haizhu district of Guangzhou, had visited a wet market on Nanyuan Street in mid May where his mother had bought a live duck. However, the source of the infection can not be determined because the duck had been eaten and too much time has passed since the boy was infected.

Source: The Jakarta Post/China Daily

Editor WorldPoultry

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