BEIJING — A 21-year-old female farmer in central China has been infected by the H5N1 strain of bird flu in the country's eighth reported case of the disease this year, according to The Associated Press. The woman, who lives in the central province of Hunan, became sick on Jan. 23 after handling poultry that died from the virus, the Health Ministry said on its Web site late Saturday. She was in stable condition and recovering, it said.

China has reported seven other cases of H5N1 since January, five of which were fatal. The virulent virus has killed 254 people worldwide since 2003, including 25 in China, according to the World Health Organization.

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