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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More