Woman in Beijing dies of bird flu

It kind of feels like deja vu all over again. I was just thinking tonight about SARS and the first time I heard about the mysterious new disease back in 2002. Then a friend of mine called and told me about a confirmed case of bird flu in Beijing, just announced today. The woman was only 19 years old.

A 19-year-old woman has died of the H5N1 bird flu virus in Beijing after coming into contact with poultry, health authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong said on Tuesday.

This human H5N1 case would be China’s first in almost a year. Experts said while the case was not unexpected as the virus is more active during the cooler months between October and March, it points to holes in surveillance of the virus in poultry.

With the world’s biggest poultry population and hundreds of millions of farmers raising birds in their backyards, China is seen as crucial in the global fight against bird flu.

“The woman fell ill on December 24, was hospitalized on December 27 and died on Monday (at) 7.20 am,” the Beijing Municipal Bureau said in a faxed statement….

China’s official Xinhua News Agency earlier reported that the woman from eastern Fujian province had bought nine ducks at a market in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing, and then gutted the birds. She gave three ducks to her father, uncle and a friend and kept the other six ducks, the agency reported.

I think we had all forgotten that bird flu, long touted as the world’s next and long-overdue pandemic, even existed. This may bring the story back with a vengeance, especially considering that this happened right here in Beijing and not off in the countryside.

The Discussion: 13 Comments

Great! Just bought my ticket back to beijing.

January 7, 2009 @ 12:08 am | Comment

I thought there was significant progress on this side. Maybe what explains why it’s not so much on the front pages?

China approves commercial production of human bird flu vaccine


It’s good to see that there was some preemptive measures taken at least. But that doesn’t rule out the devastating effect of a possible global pandemic, taking into account that many won’t have access to the vaccine.

I wonder if China have enough reserves for a significant chunk of the population here.

January 7, 2009 @ 12:23 am | Comment

If China does not mention the Bird Flu, you say “Look! China is hiding birdflu, undemocratic! Not transparent! No free media!”

If China says “We have very few cases of Bird Flu.” You say “They must be lying! They always lie!!!”

If China says “There are a lot of cases of Bird Flu, and we are very concerned.” You say “Look! Finally the Chinese government cannot hide it anymore! What were they doing earlier? Shame on them! Shame on the CCP!”

Even if China says “We think there are severe cases of under-reporting of bird-flu, and we urge the international community to examine us more closely”. You say “I think this is some ploy by the Chinese gov’t, I think they are trying to divert attention from something more serious! Evil CCP!”

In fact, I cannot envision a scenario where you’d say “Good for the Chinese gov’t, finally they are doing something right.” In fact, have you ever said something like this? If you have, please give me a link to it. Thanks.

January 7, 2009 @ 3:24 am | Comment

Uh, not to like, interject reality or anything, Hong Xing, but I can’t see much critical of the government in Richard’s post. Or is just stating that bird flu exists somehow a critique?

January 7, 2009 @ 3:41 am | Comment

Hong Xing is going to read what he wants into everything. I never criticized China in this post, yet he is going nuts defending it. We talk a lot about reflexive behavior of the fenqing, and this is it.

January 7, 2009 @ 8:30 am | Comment

I don’t think bird flu is contagious between humans. Unlike SARS, you can only get it from live chicken. Stay away from chicken farms.

January 7, 2009 @ 11:23 am | Comment

“I don’t think bird flu is contagious between humans.”

Not yet, but this is exactly what scientists are fearing, a mutation of the virus that would give it the ability to transfer from human to human.

Some case in the past in Vietnam have been suspected to be human to human transmission, but with no clear confirmation.

January 7, 2009 @ 11:50 am | Comment

Richard: new book from Chinese-speaking Indian journalist in Beijing comparing I and C reviewed in Foreign Policy


You know her?

January 7, 2009 @ 2:20 pm | Comment

Biologists tell us that we should not try to wipe out all bacteria or virus. Having diseases (deadly or not) is good for our planet. Evolution will keep things in balance. It allows the natural selection process to work.

不干不净, 吃着没病.

January 7, 2009 @ 4:28 pm | Comment

Good article and well reported. Regardless of Hong’s off target rant, may this be a wake up call to us all. We need to keep pandemic preparedness at the forefront of every one’s mind. It won’t go away so better start preparing.

For free references, resources and to join their free pandemic preparedness eCourse certification program go to Bird Flu Manual Online or, if you need more comprehensive tutorials, tools and templates, consider Bird Flu D-I-Y eManual for your pandemic preparedness.

January 7, 2009 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

Thanks Nigel.

Michael, I read that artcle some days ago – excellent. Unfortunately, I can’t blog everything I read but thanks for posting the link.

Serve the People, hope you are joking.

January 7, 2009 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

HX, I’m going to delay all your comments so please be patient. And watch yourself.

January 8, 2009 @ 9:29 am | Comment

Unfortunately is looks like bird fl is spreading again.
For a free guide to pandemic bird flu preparedness, see: http://www.pandemicinfosite.com

January 19, 2009 @ 12:37 am | Comment

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