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Taiwan Confirms First Case of H6N1 Bird Flu

Update Date: Jun 21, 2013 03:41 PM EDT
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According to Taiwan health officials, the world's first case of an H6N1 avian influenza was just confirmed in a 20-year-old Taiwanese woman. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also confirmed this case, stated that the woman is from Central Taiwan and was hospitalized on May 8 after exhibiting mild-pneumonia like symptoms that included a slight fever, coughing and headaches. During the woman's stay, the hospital had sent the isolated virus to the CDC and the National Influenza Center where scientists identified it as the novel avian-origin influenza A, also known as H6N1.

Based from the CDC's report, the patient was working at a breakfast shop when she had fallen ill. She did not come into contact with any live poultry or birds, nor did she leave the country. She was immediately treated with oseltamivir and was released from the hospital on May 11 after her symptoms cleared up. The CDC Deputy Director-General, Chou Chih-hau stated that the virus, which was isolated from the woman's respiratory specimen, appeared to be closely linked to the H6N1 virus from local chicken farms. He does not believe that she contracted the flu from another human.

"So far there is no evidence to prove that human-to-human transmission of H6N1 influenza exists," Chou said according to China Post. "Fortunately, the H6N1 patient only suffered mild symptoms and has fully recovered from the influenza."

The CDC stated that the patient had come into close contact with 36 other individuals, all of who have been tested for the virus. Four of the people did exhibit flu-like symptoms, but they all tested negative for H6N1.

The local authority also checked the poultry in two nearby farms for the H6N1 virus and did not find any cases of it circulating amongst the animals. 

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