Reuters reports the seventh death from bird flu in China.
[tease] (emphasis added)
The WHO [World Health Organization] said the woman died on Monday after falling ill with a fever on Jan. 12. It said she worked in a shop selling dry goods and added it had no evidence of exposure to diseased birds, but was investigating.
Bird flu has killed at least 83 people since it reemerged in late 2003, according to WHO figures.
Experts believe the H5N1 virus is contracted through close contact with sick birds, but fear that as the virus spreads it will mutate to enable it to spread easily from human to human, sparking a pandemic that could claim many millions of lives.
The death is the second in the Sichuan province this month.
The victims lived in prefectures around 150 km (90 miles) apart. The WHO said it was concerned that no outbreaks of bird flu in poultry had been confirmed in areas where they lived.
Case Zero is a term epidemiologists use for the first instance of a contagious event such as an epidemic or pandemic.
This latest death in China is probably NOT “case zero” for the spread of H5N1 avian flu from human to human. But the little bit we know about it is disturbing. The apparent lack of contact with diseased poultry (if factual…) could mean she contracted the disease in a new way.