Hong Kong bird flu patient improves

November 22, 2010

Hong Kong health authorities said a woman who contracted bird flu was moved from intensive care Monday after her condition improved, as fears of an outbreak linked to the case eased.

The 59-year-old woman who tested positive for Influenza A (H5), a variant of , after returning from a trip to mainland China, was moved to an isolation ward, a Health Authority spokeswoman told AFP.

"Her condition has improved from serious to stable," she said, adding "so far we are lucky and we have no signs of an outbreak."

The city on Thursday recorded its first human case of the potentially fatal illness since 2003 and raised its avian influenza alert level to "serious".

But by Saturday there was no sign of bird flu spreading among humans with health officials saying the risk of an outbreak was slim.

Hong Kong was the site of the world's first major outbreak of bird flu among humans in 1997, when six people died of a mutation of the virus, which is normally confined to poultry.

Millions of birds were culled in the 1997 outbreak.

Six years later the city was gripped by a full-blown panic when the deadly respiratory disease emerged, killing about 300 people.

Public anxiety returned to the city of seven million people last year with an outbreak of that claimed about 80 lives.

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