According to the Hong Kong based Mingpao News website, a woman from Heishan county, Liaoning province, who was initially suspected as a possible pneumonia patient, has been confirmed infected with the H5N1 virus. This is the fifth reported human bird flu infection in mainland China.
The above patient, surnamed Liu, is thirty-one years old and an agricultural worker from Heishan county, Liaoning province. Ms. Liu exhibited symptoms of high fever and pneumonia on October 30, after her admission to a local hospital. Her condition worsened, and she was at risk of acute respiratory failure. On November 7, after consultation with specialists from the provincial Health Office, the patient was transferred to the China Medical University First Affiliated Hospital for emergency treatment. Ms. Liu gradually recovered and left the hospital on November 29. An investigation revealed that before Ms. Liu fell ill, she came in contact with dead infected birds. It was confirmed that animal bird flu infection cases had occurred in her residential neighborhood.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention performed a virus DNA test on a sample from Ms. Liu. The results were negative. In order to further confirm the results, on December 5, the Center did another microneutralization test with a H5N1 virus from infected animals from Liaoning province Heishan county, and confirmed that the serum antibodies were four times above normal, which indicates that the patient was recently infected by the highly pathogenic bird flu virus.
After the infection was verified, the local public health department put strict medical observation on people that had close contact with the patient, but none exhibited any symptoms. The medical observation team was thus recalled.
China's Ministry of Public Health has already informed WHO, and its counterparts in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and other countries regarding the above patient's information.