HONG KONG, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- An 80-year-old man was the first to die of avian flu H7N9 -- bird flu -- in Honk Kong, health officials say.
The man, who lived in Shenzhen, just north of Honk Kong, sought diabetes and heart treatment at Tuen Mun Hospital on Dec. 3, but three days later he had flu symptoms. He was transported and isolated in intensive care at Princess Margaret Hospital in Kwai Chung, the South China Morning Post reported.
A 36-year-old Indonesian domestic helper Tri Mawarti -- the first person confirmed to have bird flu in Hong Kong -- is reported to be in a stable condition at Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam.
The 80-year-old man was the second confirmed case of bird flu in Hong Kong.
Both men are believed thought to have caught the avian flu in Shenzhen, where the virus was confirmed at two markets. Mawarti might have handled live poultry from one of the markets, while the elderly man might have eaten chicken from one of the markets, the Morning Post said.
The World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, said from 2003 to Dec. 20, 648 laboratory-confirmed human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection were reported from 15 countries. Of these cases, 384 died.
WHO officials said the overall public health risk assessment for avian influenza is: whenever influenza viruses are circulating in poultry, sporadic infections or small clusters of human cases are possible, especially in people exposed to infected household poultry or contaminated environments.
However, this influenza A(H5N1) virus does not currently appear to transmit easily among people, therefore, the risk of community-level spread of this virus remains low, WHO said.