Health authorities in Hunan province, China are reporting a fatality in a 47-year-old woman who contracted avian influenza A(H5N6). The patient, a farmer, was admitted to a local hospital on Nov. 18 and died yesterday.

Local media reports the woman had contact with dead poultry before she fell ill.

This is the first human case of H5N6 avian influenza in China since June and the 15 cases overall.

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Avian influenza (AI) is caused by those influenza viruses that mainly affect birds and poultry, such as chickens or ducks. These AI viruses are distinct from human seasonal influenza viruses. Since the AI viruses does not commonly infect human, there is little or no immune protection against them in the human population. People mainly become infected with AI through direct contact with infected birds and poultry (live or dead), their droppings or contaminated environments.