HONG KONG - China has reported a suspected human case of the H5N1 virus, or bird flu, in a southern city bordering Hong Kong, officials said on Friday.
The patient, a 39-year-old man living in Shenzhen, developed symptoms on Dec. 21 and was admitted to a hospital on Dec. 25 because of severe pneumonia, the Centre of Health Protection of Hong Kong said in a statement. He is now in critical condition.
China's Ministry of Health said preliminary laboratory tests on the patient's specimen by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of Guangdong Province had yielded a positive result for H5N1.
About 10 days ago Hong Kong culled 17,000 chickens at a wholesale poultry market and suspended all imports of live chickens from mainland China for 21 days after a dead chicken there tested positive for the H5N1 virus.
The virus is normally found in birds but can jump to people who do not have immunity to it and researchers worry it could mutate into a form that would spread around the world and kill millions of people.