China Sees First Bird Flu Death in More Than a Year

Bus driver near Hong Kong dies
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2011 6:38 AM CST

(Newser) – Let's hope it's an isolated case: A bus driver in southern China has died of the bird flu virus, the nation's first case in more than a year, reports Reuters. It's not clear how he contracted it: The 39-year-old apparently had no contact with poultry before coming down with a fever earlier this month. He lived in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, where authorities killed thousands of chickens at a poultry market 10 days ago after at least one tested positive for the H5N1 virus, notes the Guardian.

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The virus nearly always stays contained to birds but is usually deadly if it jumps to a human, a trait that worries researchers fearful that a mutated form could trigger a pandemic. (The feds don't want science journals to print details about research into a version of the virus that might be easily transmissable to humans.)

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