China's Health Ministry says a 21-year-old man from the central province of Hubei has been confirmed as the country's latest human case of H5N1 bird flu.

Local officials say the patient is in critical condition and is under medical observation. The ministry says the man first showed symptoms of bird flu on April 1. An investigation is underway to determine how he was exposed to the disease.

The man is the 17th person confirmed to have avian flu in China, where eleven people have died from the disease.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 100 people worldwide, most of them in Asia. The disease has also been detected in humans in Middle Eastern countries including Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.

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