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China Reports Second Bird Flu Death in Less Than a Month

China's Health Ministry says a 41-year-old man from southern China has died of bird flu, the country's second death from the disease in less than a month.

In a statement posted on its Web site Thursday, the ministry says the man was admitted to a hospital in the southern Guangxi autonomous region in mid-February and died several days later.

The ministry says the man was in contact with infected poultry before contracting the disease. Health officials say samples taken from the man confirm he had the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Chinese officials have warned previously of a "very high" possibility of outbreaks of bird flu during the country's winter months.

Late last month, a 22-year-old man from neighboring Hunan province, which is located just north of Guangxi, died of bird flu.

Chinese officials also recently reported a second outbreak of bird flu this year in Tibet. Officials say nearly 8,000 birds have been culled there to keep the disease from spreading.

Not including the recently reported deaths, the World Health Organization says 18 people in China have died from the deadly H5N1 strain of avian fluj since 2003.

The disease has claimed 227 lives worldwide since that time, most of them in Asia. Most bird flu cases involve close contact with infected poultry.

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