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08GUANGZHOU119 2008-02-25 09:08:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Guangzhou
Cable title:  

Avian Influenza Update: Human Case Reported in Guangdong

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1. (U) Summary: The Chinese Government notified Embassy Beijing,
Consulate Guangzhou and foreign governments of another suspected
human case of avian influenza (AI), this time in Guangdong Province.
A 44-year-old female migrant worker fell ill on February 16 after
exposure to sick and dead poultry. A medical response team has been
dispatched to the area where the case was identified. In addition,
according to media reports, officials in Guangxi have taken steps to
strengthen AI prevention in response to the human case reported refs
A and B. End Summary.

New Case Identified in Guangdong


2. (U) The Guangdong Department of Health notified the Consulate and
local foreign consulates on February 24 that a suspected human avian
influenza case had been detected in Shanwei City, Guangdong
Province. Beijing and embassies in China were notified by the
Ministry of Health about this case on the same day. The patient is
a migrant worker in a brick factory in Dapu Village, Haifeng County,
Shanwei City in southeastern Guangdong. She fell ill on February
16, with symptoms of fever, expectoration and pneumonia. On
February 22, after being treated in a local health clinic and a
local hospital with no improvement, she was transferred to the
Pengpai Memorial Hospital in Haifeng County with a diagnosis of
"pneumonia with unknown cause." The patient is now in critical
condition. An investigation showed that the patient had had contact
with sick and dead poultry before becoming ill.

3. (U) Laboratory tests by the Guangdong Provincial Center for
Disease Control and Prevention were positive for H5N1 avian
influenza nuclein and negative for SARS coronavirus nuclein and
antibodies. Guangdong Provincial Health Department officials have
identified the case as a "suspected human AI case" and have
submitted the case to the Chinese Ministry of Health for

Medical Response Team Dispatched


4. (U) A team from the Guangdong Provincial Health Department with
expertise in epidemiological diseases, laboratory tests and clinical
treatment has been dispatched to Haifeng County to investigate,
assist in treatment and implement prevention and control measures.
Those who have had close contact with the patient and sick or dead
poultry are under close medical supervision.

Prompt Notification


5. (U) This most recent outbreak in Guangdong has been widely
reported in local media. Press reports indicate that Chinese
officials have also notified the governments of Hong Kong and Macao
SAR. The Guangdong Foreign Affairs Office notified the Consulate on
February 25. The Ministry of Health (MOH) notified Embassy Beijing.
This is the first time that the MOH has notified the Embassy of an
AI case where no/no confirmation of H5N1 has been made by the
National Laboratory.

6. (SBU) According to Hong Kong press reports, Zhong Nanshan,
director of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases, called
on officials to be on alert because recent winter storms had caused

GUANGZHOU 00000119 002 OF 002

an increased number of dead birds. However, He Jianfeng, Deputy
Director of the Institute of Epidemic Disease Prevention, commented
to Consulate staff that this latest case was one more in a series of
sporadic cases and was not cause to believe a larger outbreak was

Guangxi Responds to Previous Case


7. (U) Local media also reported on steps taken in Guangxi Zhuang
Autonomous Region to respond to the recent human AI case there (refs
A and B). Guangxi Vice Chairman Chen Zhangliang told the press that
the situation in Guangxi was challenging because recent snowstorms
had left large numbers of dead poultry and wild animals. In
addition, he noted that vaccination subsidies were not provided in
all areas last year, resulting in lower vaccination rates. Guangxi
plans to restore subsidies for vaccines, aiming for 100% vaccination
within one month, and to improve supervision of disposal of wildlife
corpses and sick or dead poultry.