Farmer cured of bird flu donates serum for treatment of new human infection
The farmer from East China's Anhui Province, who contracted the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu last December but was later cured of the avian disease, was called in to donate his serum for treatment of another rural Chinese woman who was confirmed last month to have been infected of the same virus.
Xu Longshan, spokesman and chief of the Fujian Provincial Professional Panel for Prevention and Control of Human Infection of Bird Flu, told Xinhua Saturday health workers from Anhui Province Thursday escorted the farmer, identified by his surname as Li, to Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, where experts from the blood center affiliated to the Fujian Provincial Bureau of Health got serum from him the second day.
Li has returned back home.
"The serum was brought to Jian'ou on the same day, and so far, medical workers have carried out the first round of injection on the woman who was just confirmed of being infected of the lethal strain of the avian disease," said Xu.
"The method is new but is for sure to be of some effect in improving the woman's capability of fighting against new rounds of infection
," said Xu, who admitted it would take some time before the woman could develop immunity of her own against the avian disease.
Li from Fujian, 44, is a native of Damiao Village, a marketplace in the mountainous township of Xiaosong. The woman, who kept five chickens at her home, developed symptoms including fever on Feb. 18. She had visited village clinics and township hospitals before being hospitalized on Feb. 24 in the Jian'ou City hospital.
She was confirmed to be infected with the virus by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Feb. 27. She is known to have eaten two chickens she had raised, but her husband and son, who also ate the chicken, have not developed bird flu.
According to Xu, the woman patient was found with inflammation on her left lung when she came to the hospital on Feb. 24, but her pneumonia symptoms developed quickly and she went into a coma the next day. A chest X-ray on Feb. 25 shows large shadows on her lungs.
As of Thursday evening, Li's body temperature and pulse had returned to normal, and her lungs and breathing appeared to be functioning better but she was still breathing with the help of a respirator, Xu said.
Doctors say Li is still in a critical condition and they are trying to boost her immunity to prevent further organic infection.
Over ten doctors and medical experts from local hospitals, and Beijing-based Chaoyang Hospital and Ditan Hospital are trying to work out a detailed treatment plan to save Li, said Xu Yongxi, head of the hospital.
Policemen and hospital staff have been seen guarding the ward where the patient is staying and doctors are wearing thick, disinfected suits.
The patient's husband is with her in the hospital, and her 13-year-old son, who now stays in her four-storey house with his grand-mother, looked saddened, and said he hoped his mother could recover soon.
Li from Fujian is the country's first human case of bird flu in seven weeks since China reported on Jan. 10 that the other Li from Anhui, 37, had contracted bird flu last December but had recovered.
The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed 14 people in China since 2003.