NewsDesk @bactiman63

Hong Kong health officials report monitoring a human case of avian influenza A(H5N1) in the Mainland.

H5N1 avian influenza
Image/Cynthia Goldsmith/ Jackie Katz

The case involves a 53-year-old woman from Jiangsu, who had exposure to live domestic poultry before the onset of her symptoms. She developed symptoms on January 31, was admitted for treatment on February 4 and was in serious condition.

From 2005 to date, 55 human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) have been reported by Mainland health authorities.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza (or “bird flu”). Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60%.

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Almost all cases of H5N1 infection in people have been associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments. The virus does not infect humans easily, and spread from person to person appears to be unusual.