Chinese man dies from bird flu

A Chinese bus driver who tested positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus died Saturday in Shenzhen in China's first reported case of the disease in humans in 18 months.
The city is separated by a small river from Hong Kong, where thousands of birds have been slaughtered after two were confirmed to have the virus. During the month before his fever, the man had no contact with poultry and did not travel out of Shenzhen, the Associated Press reports.
While H5N1 rarely infects humans and usually only those who come into close contact with diseased poultry, nearly 60 percent of those infected die. Scientists are closely monitoring the virus for any signs it is becoming more easily transmissible from human to human.
The man developed the fever on December 21 and was hospitalized on December 25. It was confirmed on Saturday that he was infected with H5N1, according to the AP. The Guangdong health department said that of 120 people who had close contact with the man, none have developed any abnormal symptoms.
Since 2003, the World Health Organization has reported 336 human deaths from 573 confirmed bird flu cases. Forty of these cases, 26 of which were fatal, were in China.
More than 19,000 birds at a Hong Kong market were slaughtered and imports and sales of live poultry were banned for three weeks after a chicken carcass tested positive for H5N1. Lab tests also confirmed that an Oriental magpie found dead on December 17 was also infected.