China admits concealing first human bird flu death – Jane Macartney
China revealed today that its first human death from bird flu was a soldier who died of the H5N1 strain in 2003, two years before the country first publicly acknowledged a human infection.
The confirmation showed that the virus was present in China before the outbreak of the virus was disclosed elsewhere in Asia and raised questions about Beijing’s ability to detect emerging diseases, as well as its transparency.
China’s Ministry of Health began tests on samples from the People’s Liberation Army private only after Chinese researchers published a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine in June saying that a 24-year-old soldier, who was admitted to hospital in November 2003 for respiratory distress and pneumonia and later died, had been infected with H5N1. [Full Text]