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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 05:36 GMT
China reports 10th bird flu death
Chinese chicken vendor in Beijing market
Almost all deaths have been linked to contact with chickens
A child in south-east China has become the 10th person in the country to die of bird flu, state media has reported.

The nine-year-old girl from Zhejiang province died on Monday, according to Xinhua news agency.

Officials told the WHO that she was suffering from the virulent H5N1 strain, according to the AP agency.

She is the second Chinese person to die of bird flu in less than a week. A 32-year-old man in the southern province of Guangdong died on Thursday.

The girl fell ill after being in contact with sick chickens while visiting relatives in Anhui province in February, Xinhua said.

She was hospitalised with fever and pneumonia shortly afterwards.

Worldwide problem

Bird flu has devastated poultry stocks, and killed at least 95 people since late 2003, mostly in Asia.

Outbreaks have also recently been reported in Africa and Europe.

Almost all human infections so far are thought to have been caused by direct contact with sick poultry.

But scientists fear the virus could mutate to spread between humans, triggering a global pandemic.

A man in China's Guangzhou province, which borders Hong Kong, died of bird flu on Sunday.

The authorities in Hong Kong have expressed concern about the man's death because there have been no recorded outbreaks of bird flu in Guangdong since 2004.

The Chinese authorities have since suspended the supply of live poultry to Hong Kong.




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