A 16-year-old youth from eastern Anhui province is the 15th person to die from bird flu in China since late 2003. The teenager, who had been suffering symptoms since March 17, was from the town of Bengbu and died Tuesday night, AFP reported. The deadly H5N1 strain of the virus has now claimed 170 lives worldwide since 2003; China has reported a total of 24 human cases of bird flu. The government last reported a bird flu fatality in July 2006, when the virus killed a farmer in the western region of Xinjiang. Multiple strains of the disease originated in southern China and scientists fear the virus could mutate into a form that easily spreads among humans, leading to a global pandemic with the potential to kill millions.
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