China has officially confirmed its first human death from bird flu - a 24-year-old farmer from the eastern province of Anhui.
The woman became sick after an outbreak of bird flu among poultry in her village in Zongyang county and died Nov 10, the health ministry said, according to a report Thursday by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
It is likely, however, that the woman's death was the second from bird flu in the world's most populous country. A 12-year-old girl died Oct 17 in central Hunan province with symptoms of bird flu, but she was cremated and not enough blood was drawn beforehand to carry out the high level of testing that the World Health Organisation (WHO) requires to confirm a bird-flu infection.
However, China confirmed Wednesday that her nine-year-old brother, who also became sick, had avian influenza. He has recovered and was released from hospital Saturday.
The provinces affected by bird flu besides Hunan and Anhui, are northeastern Liaoning, northwestern Xinjiang, far-northern Inner Mongolia and central Hubei.
The confirmed cases in China bring to 65 the number of bird-flu deaths in humans since late 2003 and to 128 the number of infections. The other countries affected are Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia. .