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China confirms 21 cases of H7N9 infection


08:05, April 08, 2013

SHANGHAI, April 7 (Xinhua) -- China reported three more H7N9 infections on Sunday, bringing total number of the confirmed cases to 21 as the country is gearing up to fight the disease that has left six dead.

The latest confirmed H7N9 case was reported in east China's Anhui Province, where a 55-year-old male working in the live poultry trade was diagnosed with the virus, local health authorities said on Sunday night.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDCP) diagnosed the patient, surnamed Li, positive of the H7N9 avian influenza virus on Sunday.

Li began exhibiting flu symptoms on March 28 and was taken to a hospital in Bozhou City on April 1 after his condition worsened, according to a statement from the Anhui Provincial Health Department.

Li is currently in stable condition, said the statement, adding that 12 others who have had close contact with the patient have not shown any signs of infection so far.

Before Li's case of H7N9 was confirmed, the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) reported that there were a total of 20 H7N9 cases across the country as of 5 p.m. Sunday, including two cases that were newly reported in Shanghai on Sunday.

One is a Shanghai resident and the other is from neighboring Anhui Province, according to Shanghai authorities.

The two male patients, 67 and 59 years old, respectively, developed flu symptoms in late March and were diagnosed with pneumonia over the last week, Shanghai's health and family planning commission said in a statement.

An initial investigation showed that six people who have had close contact with the two have not exhibited flu symptoms.

So far, Shanghai alone had 10 confirmed H7N9 cases, with four resulting in death. The other six patients have been quarantined and are undergoing treatment.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, three cases, including two that ended in death, had been reported in east China's Zhejiang Province, six cases in Jiangsu Province, and one case in Anhui Province, according to the NHFPC.

Governments at provincial levels across the country have reinforced efforts in their fights with the disease, even if there are no such reports in some regions.

Authorities in Shanghai have placed 194 people who had close contact with the 10 infected people under medical observation. Two have exhibited symptoms, although bird flu has been ruled out as the cause of their illness.

To prevent the spread of the virus, Shanghai authorities have ordered the slaughter of 98,000 poultry and incinerated them, according to the municipal agriculture commission.

Shanghai Party chief Han Zheng vowed on Sunday to implement all preventative and controlling measures against the bird flu in an efficient and transparent way.

In Beijing, where there is no H7N9 case reported so far, the authorities have banned all live poultry trade outside the market and unlicensed butchering of poultry.

The government of south China's Guangdong Province has earmarked an initial 30 million yuan (4.76 million U.S. dollars) as fund for the prevention and control of the disease as well for aiding infected patients in poverty.

Testing reagents for the H7N9 avian influenza virus have been distributed to 409 flu monitoring sites across the country, according to a statement by the CCDCP.

The center has also provided major infectious disease hospitals and research agencies with testing materials and has provided instructions for conducting the tests, it said.

The center said it has participated in a series of teleconferences organized by WHO headquarters and has reported on the H7N9 infection situation in China in a timely manner.

The center is also maintaining communication with health authorities in the United States and other countries regarding technical cooperation.

On Saturday, China approved a new drug believed to be effective in treating the H7N9 avian flu virus.

A work team from the NHFPC said on Sunday that medical treatment for those infected patients who are in critical situations should be strengthened so as to curb the fatalities.

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