HONG KONG — A man in southern China died of bird flu on Saturday, the state news media reported, in the country’s first reported human death attributed to the virus in 18 months.
The death came about a week after two dead birds tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus in nearby Hong Kong, causing the government to cull thousands of birds.
Saturday’s victim, a 39-year-old bus driver, died from multiple organ failure at a hospital in the city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, according to the Xinhua news agency, citing the local Health Department. The department said that the man began developing symptoms on Dec. 21 and was hospitalized last Sunday with pneumonia; he subsequently tested positive for the virus.
Reuters, citing the newspaper The Southern Daily, reported that 120 people who had had contact with the man had developed no signs of sickness. In the month before developing symptoms, the man appeared to have had no direct contact with poultry and had not traveled outside Shenzhen, a city of more than 10 million just north of Hong Kong.