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China Says Soldier Infected With Bird Flu

China's state-run media say a 19-year-old Chinese soldier has been hospitalized with bird flu.

It is not immediately clear if the soldier has been infected with the often deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Fifteen people have died in China since the outbreak in 2003. Worldwide, the virus has killed 186 people, mostly in Southeast Asia.

The virus is mainly passed on to humans through contact with infected poultry. But experts fear the virus could spark a pandemic if it mutates into a form easily transmissible upon human to human contact.

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