H5N1 virus

Doctors warned after mainland flu deaths

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am

Doctors were urged yesterday to conduct bird-flu tests on flu patients who have been to Guangxi and Hunan regions.

The call from the Centre for Health Protection came after the deaths of two people in the autonomous region and province. The centre said the Ministry of Health had reported a H5N1 case in Guangxi.

A 41-year-old man developed symptoms on February 12 and was admitted to a hospital on February 14. He died on February 20.

The case came three days after the mainland announced that a man in Hunan had died of bird flu. The man, surnamed Li, 22, died on January 24 in Jianghua County Hospital in Yongzhou .

The deaths take to 19 the death toll from bird flu on the mainland. The controller of the Centre for Health Protection, Thomas Tsang Ho-fai, said the cases meant there was a need to enhance preventive measures.

The bird flu cases came amid the peak flu season in Hong Kong. Last week, health authorities sent letters to doctors alerting them to the rising flu threat.

In the week ending February 2, 79 flu viruses were detected, compared with an average of 32 in earlier weeks.

The average suspected flu rate among private doctors was 28.6 per 1,000 consultations and 5.4 for general outpatient clinics.