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Bird Flu Claims 4th Life This Year in China


China's Health Ministry says a fourth person has died from bird flu this year.

The ministry said on its Web site Saturday that the latest victim is a 31-year-old woman who lived in the far northwest region of Xinjiang. The report said she died early Friday morning.

A statement Wednesday from the ministry said there was no evidence of the possibility of a large-scale outbreak, noting that those who died lived in different parts of the country.

However, the government has warned that with the beginning of the Lunar New Year holiday on Monday, with an increase in the sale and movement of poultry, there could be a higher risk of an epidemic.

The World Health Organization says bird flu has killed 248 people since it resurfaced in Asia in 2003. This latest death brings China's total to 24.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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