Hong Kong's first bird flu patient this winter dies

Hong Kong's first bird flu patient this winter dies
PHOTO: AFP

An elderly Hong Kong man died on Christmas Day from bird flu, the government said on Tuesday, the first human infection in the city this winter.

The Centre for Health Protection of the Health Department said the 75-year-old man, who was diagnosed with the H7N9 strain, died on Sunday.

Last week, Hong Kong confirmed the first human bird flu infection for this season after the man, who had recently travelled to China, was diagnosed with H7N9.

South Korea and Japan ordered further culls early last week to contain outbreaks of a different strain of bird flu, having already killed tens of millions of birds in the past month.

At least seven people in China have been infected with H7N9 this winter and two have died.

Hong Kong, a former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997, has been battling sporadic cases of avian influenza in humans since the first outbreak killed six people in the same year.

South Korea confirms highly pathogenic bird flu outbreaks

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    South Korea's agriculture ministry said it will issue a temporary nationwide ban on the transportation of poultry to contain the spread of bird flu, with 43 outbreaks recorded in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

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    Since the first outbreak of a severe strain of bird flu known as H5N6 was reported on Nov.18., South Korea has ramped up quarantine measures to stop a wider spread of the virus, including issuing a 48-hour nationwide standstill order three weeks ago.

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    To prevent the spread of bird flu, the ministry said at least 8.8 million farm birds were culled and plans to slaughter 1.5 million more. That would be over 10 per cent of the country's poultry population of nearly 85 million.

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    Although cases of human infections from the H5N6 virus have previously been reported elsewhere including China, no cases of human infection have been found in South Korea.

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    South Korean health officials disinfect a stream which migratory birds stay in winter temporarily, to prevent spread of bird flu

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    A South Korean health official disinfects a vehicle to prevent spread of bird flu in Pohang, South Korea

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