News / Asia

China Investigating New Deadly Bird Flu Strain

FILE - A farmer walks past baskets of newly hatched ducklings in a hatch room at a poultry egg trading market in Wuzhen town, Tongxiang, Zhejiang province.
FILE - A farmer walks past baskets of newly hatched ducklings in a hatch room at a poultry egg trading market in Wuzhen town, Tongxiang, Zhejiang province.
Shannon Van Sant
This week China reported the death of a woman it said was the first human to become infected with a new strain of bird flu. While researchers work to learn more about the H10N8 strain of the virus that she acquired, the World Health Organization said the quick notice about the case indicates China has made improvements in tracking deadly outbreaks.
 
Shortly after visiting a poultry market in Jiangxi Province, a 73-year-old woman died from a new strain of bird flu called H10N8.  She passed away on December 6, just six days after she contracted the disease.
 
Dr. Bernhard Schwartlander, the WHO representative in China, says the quick diagnosis of the bird flu that killed her reflects the increased strength of the country’s surveillance systems.
 
“The fact that Chinese authorities detected this case in a 73-year-old woman that had other medical conditions actually shows that the active surveillance system, the active alert system, is actually working quite well,” explained Schwartlander.

Earlier this year, some 100 people were infected with the H7N9 strain of avian flu and China responded with increased testing and reporting of similar outbreaks.
 
The H10N8 virus had previously been detected in Guangdong Province and lived in poultry for many years.  The WHO’s Schwartlander said the first fatality from the virus is a worrisome development.  “This the first case that we detected the virus in a human being,” he said.
 
In 2002 and 2003, China came under international criticism for its slow public acknowledgement of the deadly epidemic called SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, that eventually killed more than 700 people. As health authorities tracked the outbreak, officials discouraged the domestic media from reporting on the incident and held back information from WHO researchers.
 
China’s health systems have improved since, but some experts say the country’s surveillance of laboratory-confirmed infections remains underdeveloped.
 
The elderly woman who died this week frequently visited live poultry markets and was admitted to the hospital on November 30.  She suffered from high blood pressure and heart disease, which likely lowered her immunity.
 
Authorities have not provided information on whether she was quarantined but say no one who was close to her has become sick. Dr. Schwartlander said authorities need to keep a close watch to see whether the disease spreads.

“Of course we are always concerned when we see that the virus has actually jumped from one species to another. And you have to be very careful watching this because every time this happens it has, of course in theory, the potential for a wider spread,” he said.
 
Chinese authorities are also closely watching for outbreaks of the H5N1 virus, which has killed 384 people since 2003.  Scientists fear the virus could mutate and spread rapidly from person to person.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid