China has confirmed its first human death from bird flu, according to the BBC.

A woman in the eastern province of Anhui died after being infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the health ministry said. It added that a boy in central China had also contracted the virus but had recovered. The two are China’s first confirmed human bird flu cases.

The H5N1 virus has killed more than 60 people in South East Asia since the latest outbreak began in 2003. The Chinese health ministry said the 24-year-old woman who died was a poultry worker.

The nine-year-old boy who recovered had developed pneumonia symptoms following an outbreak of bird flu in his village in Hunan province.

His sister also fell ill and died – it is suspected she too had bird flu, but her body was cremated before samples could be taken.

China alone has reported 11 outbreaks among birds over the past month.

The authorities have culled millions of birds, but experts are warning that the virus is entrenched in parts of the country.

Beijing on Tuesday vowed to vaccinate all of the country’s estimated 14bn poultry, but it is feared wild birds could spread the virus.