Chinese woman being tested for bird flu

A 41-year-old woman in southern China was being tested to see if she has the H5N1 bird flu virus after falling sick with pneumonia-like symptoms, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

The case was reported March 30 to the WHO's Beijing office, spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi said.

The woman, a vegetable-seller at a market in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, was hospitalized with a cough, fever and headache, Bhatiasevi said.

The woman worked in an area close to where live poultry were sold so "she's being treated with caution," she said.

"She has been given a preliminary diagnosis of pneumonia," Bhatiasevi said. "The symptoms of bird flu are similar to pneumonia so they are testing her for that as well."

The woman was in stable condition and tests results could be released up to five weeks later, she said.

The H5N1 virus has killed 109 people in nine countries, mostly in Asia, according to WHO, and has killed or prompted authorities to destroy 200 million birds.

In mainland China, there have been 16 reported cases of bird flu since November and 11 have died.

A number of people around the Guangzhou woman were being monitored, but so far none have been sickened, Bhatiasevi said, reports the AP.


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