H5N1 death reported in China

According to the Chinese Health Ministry, a man in southern China died on Sunday from the H5N1 bird flu virus, which is the country's second death from the virus in less than a month.

The victim fell ill on January 6 and was admitted to a hospital in Guizhou Province that day. A bus driver in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, near Hong Kong died from the virus on December 31, the New York Times reports.

Neither victim reported any contact with birds in the month prior to their illnesses. The virus is known to spread through contact with infected birds, bird feces or bird eggs, though experts have said that a pandemic could be possible if it were to mutate into a more easily spreadable form.

Chinese authorities are monitoring 71 people who have been in contact with the latest victim and have found no evidence of further infection. Those in contact with the Shenzhen victim have also been found to be symptom-free, leading experts to believe that neither case involved human-to-human transmission, according to the New York Times.

Bird flu has killed 343 of the 582 people who are known to have been infected worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. This includes 28 out of 42 people infected in China, which is regarded as a major breeding ground for the virus.