H7N9 bird flu spreads to central China


Eleven new cases of H7N9 bird flu infection were confirmed in China on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 60, while Shanghai reported two more deaths from the virus, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

A 67-year-old woman and a 77-year-old man died in hospital on Saturday night and Sunday morning, respectively, the Shanghai Municipal Health and Family Planning Commission said.

Among the 11 new cases are the first two cases in central China’s Henan Province, according to Xinhua.

The report said a 34-year-old restaurant chef in Weishi county of Kaifeng city was in critical condition at a local hospital, while a 65-year-old farmer from Zhoukou city was in stable condition in hospital after receiving treatment.

The two men both tested positive for the H7N9 bird flu virus on Thursday.

Nineteen people who had close contact with them have yet to show flu symptoms, Xinhua said. The World Health Organization says there is no indication the virus can be transmitted between people.

In eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, provincial medical experts confirmed on Sunday that two male patients have been infected with the virus, according to Xinhua.

Twenty-nine people who they have been in close contact with have not shown flu symptoms.

In Shanghai, three men, aged 73, 54 and 78, were confirmed to be infected with the new strain of avian influenza. They all developed symptoms of fever earlier this month and were sent to hospital for treatment.

Twenty-five people, who had closely contact with the three men, have been in medical observation, and none of them has yet shown flu symptoms.

In Zhejiang Province, the provincial health bureau said two men and two women, aged between 62 and 79, have been confirmed as having H7N9 and that all of them are listed in serious condition.

The province has reported 15 confirmed cases so far, including two deaths. The 483 close contacts of the previously reported 11 cases have not developed flu symptoms, while those of the four new cases were still being traced.

On Saturday, Xinhua reported that the virus had spread from eastern to northern China with a 7-year-old girl in Beijing found to be infected, the first such case in the Chinese capital.

Except for the three cases reported in Beijing and Henan, the other 52 cases reported since March 31 were detected in the eastern provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang and in Shanghai.

The death toll from the outbreak in China stands at 13, with most of the other cases considered to be severe.

According to the WHO, this is the first time for infection with this influenza subtype, H7N9, to have been detected in humans.

It says the new virus contains genes from three different avian influenza viruses and may have a greater ability to infect humans and other mammals than most of the previously seen viruses.

  • thomas

    I don’t think this is natural. I mean how does a virus spread so quickly? Last week it wasn’t even on the news and last time i checked (11th april) it was only 24 cases… this virus has a high mortality rate and high infection rate why are we only seeing it now?? Makes one question whether this virus might be biologically engineered

  • Chelsea

    Honestly it is probably just a natural mutation. I mean after all the Bubonic Plague was a natural disease and killed almost half of Europe’s population, it also had a high mortality rate and high infection rate. I won’t deny that there is always the chance of it being unnatural, The possibility of that however is very slim. The common cold for example mutates so often that there is no cure for it, only things to help the symptoms of it, the nature of germs and bacteria is to mutate and adapt or be wiped out.

  • The prospect of an outbreak of bird flu is an interesting side issue given the vulnerability of markets to bad news. Any sign of a bird flu going global is simply going to shake the market. Communicative, deadly strains being a substantive risk to markets…..kind of a depression driving phenomenon….if it occurs. What good is stimulus when the only reason people leave their homes is to buy (or loot) food. Those preppers might be rather satisfied at this point.