Bird flu fears 'human-to-human'7th December 2007
Chinese authorities report that the father of a Chinese man who died from the H5N1 strain of bird flu last week has also been diagnosed with the disease.
A 52-year-old man surnamed Lu from the Nanjing, the capital of the eastern province of Jiangsu, became feverish with the H5N1 strain on Thursday, according to the National Disease Authority, as reported by the Ministry of Health. The man's son had died five days earlier.
This latest case brings the number of confirmed human infections in China to 27. The Ministry of Health said the World Health Organisation had been notified.
Humans can contract H5N1 from close contact with infected birds, but scientists fear the disease could mutate into a version that spreads from person-to-person, raising the spectre of a global pandemic. How either of the two men might have contracted the virus remains unknown.
Official media had reported that the son became ill without having had any contact with dead poultry, nor had any outbreaks of the deadly virus been reported in the province.
China is home to the world's largest human and poultry populations, and birds roam freely in much of the country. Scientists say China is central to the global fight against bird flu, and it could be the crucible for the next pandemic.
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