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China reports 5 new human cases of H5N6 bird flu

Five people were infected in December. Two have died, two more are ‘critical’

Five additional human cases have been reported in Sichuan province, Zhejiang province, and the Guangxi Autonomous Region, according to the Hong Kong Health Department. Local officials did not immediately make the incidents public because they occurred in the last few weeks.

Following the confirmation of five new cases of H5N6, two deaths from flu have been recorded, prompting the World Health Organization to call for ‘urgent’ action.

In 2021, five persons – four men and one woman – were sick with the bird flu strain in Sichuan region, Zhejiang province, and the Guangxi Autonomous Region, according to The Sun, citing the Hong Kong health department.

Officials said in a statement that two of those persons have died and that the other three are fighting for their lives in the hospital.

According to the statement, four out of five of the afflicted patients were exposed to live domestic fowl. The manner in which the fifth was discovered is being probed.

In December, a 75-year-old man from Luzhou, Sichuan, became the first person to succumb to H5N6. He became ill on December 1, was transported to the hospital on December 4, and died on December 12.

A 54-year-old man from Leshan, Sichuan, was the second victim, who was infected on December 8, admitted on December 16, and died on December 24.

On December 15, a 51-year-old woman from Hangzhou, Zhejiang, became ill and was rushed to the hospital three days later. Her condition was described as critical in the statement.

On December 23, two more guys from Liuzhou, Guangxi, a 53-year-old and a 28-year-old, were infected and transported to the hospital. The older man’s condition is described as serious, while the younger man’s condition is also described as serious.

According to WHO, H5N6 avian flu causes severe illness in people of all ages and has killed nearly half of those infected. Although no cases of human-to-human transmission have been documented, a lady who tested positive in July 2021 claimed she had no interaction with live chickens.

A WHO spokesperson said earlier that month that the risk of human-to-human transmission remains low because H5N6 has not yet developed the ability to transmit for long periods of time between humans, but that increased surveillance was “urgently required” to better understand the growing number of human cases.