The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday confirmed reports that two more people in China had been infected with bird flu. One died while the other was in critical condition, it said.
Over the weekend, the CDC was notified by Chinese health authorities of a two-year-old girl in Shanxi Province who had fallen critically ill with the H5N1 virus, as well as a 27-year-old woman in Shandong Province who died of the virus, CDC deputy director Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said.
The two cases likely involved contact with poultry, CDC said.
Earlier this month, a 19-year-old woman living in Beijing also died of H5N1. Her infection was also suspected to have resulted from contact with poultry.
The CDC said the three cases seemed to be isolated rather than clusters, adding that there were no indications this was a precursor to an epidemic.
“The cases are quite spread out [which in our view] is not a cause for concern. People planning to travel to China need not change their plans,” Chou said.
“However, because the H5N1 virus is prevalent in China, it is important that travelers take extra precautions and immediately see a doctor if they feel ill,” he said.
Since the report of the first death from bird flu this year, the CDC has stepped up disease control and notified health officials at Taiwan’s borders to pay special attention to passengers traveling from Beijing, especially those showing signs of fever, Chou said.
People traveling China should avoid coming into contact with birds, as well as avoid eating eggs or poultry that have not been fully cooked, he said.