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State Council: H7N9 treatment costs should be covered by health care

(CRI Online)    10:01, February 25, 2017

H7N9 is a bird flu strain first reported to have infected humans in China in March 2013. [Photo: caixin.com]

China's State Council is calling on local governments to ensure that the costs for medical procedures for people who have been infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus will be covered by public health insurance.

The call, which was made at a recent state council executive meeting, is aimed at helping ease the financial burden of medical treatment for H7N9 infections.

The H7N9 virus can easily lead to serious illness, and the cost of medicines and medical procedures can reach several hundred thousand yuan, said Wang Linghang, deputy director of the Department of Infection Prevention and Control of Beijing Ditan Hospital.

However, many of those infected with the bird flu viruses come from rural areas and have relatively low incomes, and some medicines and medical procedures can not be reimbursed under the current health insurance system, according to media reports.

In 2013, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called on local governments to guarantee that H7N9 patients don't find their treatment delayed for financial reasons.

China's National Health and Family Planning Commission has also issued a notice requiring public medical insurance to cover the costs of medical treatment for H7N9 patients in the same year.

Some provinces have since rolled out measures to make sure that the cost of medical treatment for H7N9 patients are covered by public medical insurance.

H7N9 infections in 2017

192 people contracted H7N9 bird flu in January this year, with 79 deaths. There were 35 human cases from February 13 to 23 in the Chinese mainland, including 7 fatalities.

The H7N9 bird flu virus usually peaks in spring and winter, and the death rate currently stands at 40 percent.

Avian flu is partly caused by human exposure to infected poultry, and local governments have taken various measures such as halting the trade in live poultry to prevent transmission.

Meanwhile, experts have urged people to stay away from live poultry and be cautious when picking out birds.

According to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the H7N9 bird flu virus is under control at the moment.

The H7N9 strain first reportedly infected humans in China in 2013. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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