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EPIDEMICS
China reports year's second fatal case of bird flu
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 23, 2013


Malawi gets 1,000 new HIV infections a week: official
Blantyre, Malawi (AFP) Feb 23, 2013 - AIDS-ravaged Malawi, where over a tenth of the population is HIV positive, records on average 1,000 new cases weekly, a top government official said Saturday.

"Its a great concern to us that despite efforts by government to prevent HIV and AIDS, the country continues to register about 1,000 new cases of HIV every week," Edith Mkawa, a senior health ministry secretary in charge of nutrition, HIV and AIDS, told reporters.

"The number is very high. It is frustrating the fight against HIV pandemic," she said.

Mkawa said Malawi, where 11.8 percent of the 14 million citizens are HIV positive, "needs urgent action to attain zero new HIV infections."

People "are not changing their behaviours. These behaviours are fuelling the spread of HIV at an alarming rate."

The southern African nation has 350,000 people receiving free anti-retroviral drugs, up from 5,000 in 2004.

A man in southwestern China has died of bird flu, health authorities said Saturday, becoming the second fatality from the H5N1 virus this year.

The 31-year-old died in hospital in the city of Guiyang on Friday, the Guizhou province health department said in a statement, adding that no other human cases of avian flu had been reported in the province.

Another city resident, a 21-year-old woman, died from the virus earlier this month.

The Xinhua news agency said both of them had come into close contact with birds but it was not known if the cases were related.

The H5N1 virus typically spreads from birds to humans through direct contact, but experts fear it could mutate into a form transmissible between humans with the potential to trigger a pandemic.

More than 365 people have died of bird flu globally since the virus re-emerged in 2003, according to the World Health Organization.

Its figures show that China saw 25 deadly cases of the virus between 2003 and 2009 before numbers tailed off to one fatality in each of the three following years. The deadliest year of the past decade in China saw eight deaths in 2006.

China is considered one of the nations most at risk from bird flu epidemics because it has the world's biggest poultry population and many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans.

China has in the past been accused of covering up the extent of bird flu outbreaks, exacerbating fears when new cases are reported.

Separate outbreaks among birds were reported last year in the northern region of Ningxia and the remote northwestern region of Xinjiang, prompting massive culls of chickens.

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Epidemics on Earth - Bird Flu, HIV/AIDS, Ebola






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