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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 04:36 GMT
Woman contracts bird flu in China
A woman holds a duck in China's Anhui province. File photo
China is inoculating millions of birds to try to stamp out bird flu
A 26-year-old woman in south-eastern China has become the latest person in the country to contract bird flu.

China's health ministry confirmed on Wednesday that the woman in Fujian had tested positive for the H5N1 strain, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The news came on the same day that health authorities reported Africa's first avian cases of bird flu.

More than 70 people, mostly in South East Asia, have died of the disease since late 2003.

Scientists fear the H5N1 bird flu virus could mutate from a disease that largely affects birds to one that can pass easily between people, leading to a human pandemic.

China is seen as potential flashpoint for a human pandemic, because it has the world's largest poultry population.

The latest victim was first admitted to hospital with a fever in January, but she was only confirmed to have contracted bird flu on Wednesday.

No outbreak among birds has so far been detected near where she lived.

But some of the people who have been in contact with her have been placed under observation by local health authorities, according to Xinhua.

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