China’s bird flu claims victim, four new cases reported

Kyodo

An 83-year-old man being treated for the H7N9 bird flu infection in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province died Tuesday, while four new cases were reported in Shanghai and nearby Zhejiang Province, according to health authorities.

Including the latest cases, a total of 28 human infections have been reported since the H7N9 virus was first found to have infected humans in Shanghai and the nearby provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

In Jiangsu, the provincial health bureau said the man surnamed Shen, whose case had been previously reported, died despite medical efforts.

He went to a local hospital on March 20 with flu-like symptoms and was diagnosed with H7N9 on April 2. With his passing, the death toll now stands at eight, including five in Shanghai and two in Zhejiang.

In Shanghai, a 62-year-old man surnamed Lin fell ill on April 1 with a fever and upper respiratory infection, while a 77-year-old man with the surname Wang fell ill on Wednesday last week with a fever, muscle aches and upper respiratory infection.

Both men are being listed in stable condition and none of their close contacts are ill, Shanghai’s health and family planning commission said.

The Zhejiang provincial health bureau said a 51-year-old woman surnamed Jia and a 79-year-old man surnamed Shentu, both retirees, are being treated for H7N9 and listed in serious and critical conditions, respectively.

Although so far all the confirmed cases have been reported in the Yangtze River Delta region provinces, health officials in southern Guangdong Province said the risk of a first human infection in Guangdong exists.

Health authorities in Guangdong and Hong Kong on Tuesday reached consent on a protocol in which health experts will meet and exchange patients’ diagnoses should human infection be reported in the region.

“The more experience exchanges between experts across the border, the better it is for finding treatment and handling the infections,” said Anthony Wu, chairman of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority.