Bird flu victim's girlfriend discharged

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 March, 2006, 12:00am

The girlfriend of Guangzhou bird flu victim Lao Qiliang, who was quarantined in a special ward for the past two weeks with a high fever, has been discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of bronchial disease.

Guangzhou media reports said the woman's family rejected psychological counselling from the hospital, and the woman, referred to only as Ms Zhang, had been unaware of her boyfriend's death due to her quarantine.

Guangzhou Second People's Hospital in Liwan district, where Lao died and the woman was quarantined, refused to disclose any further details, saying it would respect the girlfriend's privacy. 'She could attract public notice after having had close contact with a bird flu victim, so to protect her we will release her quietly and keep her location a secret,' a hospital spokesman said.

The spokesman also said the woman was only suffering from a bronchial disease, and had recovered after treatment. She was discharged on Saturday.

A Xinhua report said that after coming down with a high fever on February 26, the woman was quarantined due to her close contact with Lao and public concerns about human-to-human transmission of bird flu. The news agency said a group of health experts held a consultation on the woman's case on Friday and decided to end the quarantine, though some of the experts opposed the decision.

Lao, 32, died from bird flu on February 2. It has been reported that he frequently visited live poultry stalls at wet markets.