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China Reports 17th Bird Flu Death

China's health ministry has reported the death of a man from bird flu in the coastal province of Jiangsu.

China's official news agency says health officials confirmed that the man died Sunday from the H5N1 strain of the virus.

Xinhua said the 24-year-old man's condition deteriorated rapidly after he was hospitalized Tuesday. The report did not identify the hospital or its location.

Information about how and where the man may have contracted avian influenza was not immediately available.

No bird flu outbreak has been reported among the province's wild birds or poultry.

Bird flu outbreaks were reported last month in Hong Kong, South Korea and Burma.

The World Health Organization reports there have been at least 25 human cases of avian flu confirmed in China in recent years, 16 of them fatal.

The WHO says more than 200 people have died of bird flu worldwide since the first outbreak in 2003.

Scientists are concerned the a deadly strain of the bird flu virus could change into a form easily passed among humans, sparking a pandemic.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.