HONG KONG - A 12-year-old girl died after suffering flu-like symptoms in a village in central China where the mainland's third outbreak of bird flu in a week has been confirmed, the South China Morning Post said on Thursday.
He Yin and her 10-year-old brother fell ill about a week ago after eating a sick chicken that had died, the Hong Kong-based Post said, quoting their father, He Tieguang.
"We had dead chickens before and nobody has ever got sick because of that. So I thought it's okay," her father was quoted as saying.
So far there was no evidence linking her death to the outbreak of bird flu in the village in Hunan province and none of the adults in her family had shown any flu symptoms, the paper said. Doctors told her family she had died from fever.
The newspaper did not say when the girl died.
China has said the Hunan outbreak had been brought under control.
Farmers in the village of Wantang said many birds suddenly died about 10 days ago, the newspaper said.
The World Health Organisation has said the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu is endemic in poultry in China and across much of Asia.
Health experts fear it may only be a matter of time before it develops the ability to pass easily from human to human, triggering a pandemic.
Since breaking out in late 2003 in South Korea, H5N1 has killed more than 60 people in four Asian countries and reached as far west as European Russia, Turkey and Romania, tracking the paths of migratory birds.
China has reported no human cases so far.