Source Pravda.Ru

Hong Kong health official reports a human case of H9, a mild strain of bird flu

A 9-month-old girl was infected with H9N2 - a less virulent strain of bird flu - in Hong Kong and was being isolated at a hospital, health officials said Tuesday.

Before getting sick on March 4, the baby almost daily visited a food market that sold live poultry, said Thomas Tsang Ho-fai of the Center for Health Protection. Officials suspected she was infected by birds at the market, he said.

H9N2 is a mild strain of H5N1, which has caused the deaths of at least 169 people worldwide.

"The baby's case is not that serious, and there's no serious indication that there was human-to-human infection," Tsang said.

Hong Kong reported two cases of the mild strain in 1999 and one in 2003, he said. The patients were children who all recovered, he said.

The recent case returned home after spending five days in the hospital, but the child was put into isolation after her samples tested positive for H9N2, said Tsang, adding that the case was confirmed Tuesday.

Officials were taking more samples from the market and family members, he said, reports AP.

Hong Kong aggressively monitors bird flu because an outbreak in 1997 jumped to humans and killed six people. That prompted the government to slaughter the entire poultry population of about 1.5 million birds.

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