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Transparency promised in fight against virus

By Wang Qian (China Daily)

09:00, April 05, 2013

14 cases confirmed, five die from new strain of bird flu

China's health authorities have promised transparency and pledged to mobilize resources nationwide to combat a new strain of deadly bird flu that has killed five people.

By Thursday night, the country's total number of confirmed bird flu cases increased to 14 - four in Jiangsu, six in Shanghai, one in Anhui and three in Zhejiang. One of the latest victims was a 48-year-old man from Jiangsu province, who transported poultry for a living. He died of H7N9 bird flu in Shanghai on Thursday.

On Wednesday afternoon, the National Health and Family Planning Commission briefed officials from the World Health Organization's China office on the latest developments in H7N9 infections, according to a statement posted on the commission's website on Thursday.

"China will maintain open and transparent exchanges with the WHO and other countries and regions, step up monitoring and adopt proper measures," it said.

It also pledged to "deploy the entire nation's health system to combat the virus".

The WHO said it was "following the event closely" and was in contact with Chinese authorities, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Gregory Hartl, media officer for the WHO, said in Geneva on Wednesday (local time) that given the current evidence, the risk of an epidemic is low.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday that no human-to-human transmission of H7N9 has been discovered and no epidemiological connection between these cases has been found.

The health authorities have asked local branches to establish a daily reporting system in places where confirmed cases are reported, while releasing a treatment and prevention guide on Wednesday, clarifying possible clinical symptoms and the latent phase of the disease.

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