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China Reports 6th Case of Bird Flu This Year

China's Health Ministry says a man in the southwestern province of Guizhou has been infected with bird flu and is in critical condition.

The ministry said Sunday that the 29-year-old man surnamed Zhou became ill on January 15 and was diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Health officials say the man had been exposed to live poultry before he got sick.

Six people have contracted the disease in China this year and four have died.

The latest victim was a 31-year-old woman who died Friday morning in the far northwest region of Xinjiang.

A statement Wednesday from the ministry said there is 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 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 AP and Reuters.