China H7N9 bird flu area spreads, two new deaths: govt (Update)

China's H7N9 bird flu spread west to the central province of Henan on Sunday, as government websites and state media reported two deaths and 11 new cases nationwide.

The new strain of the flu had been confined to the eastern city of Shanghai and nearby Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui until Saturday when the first case was reported in Beijing.

In total 60 people have been infected and 13 have died of the disease since Chinese authorities announced two weeks ago they had found H7N9 in humans for the first time.

Two new cases were reported in Henan on Sunday by Xinhua state news agency, as government websites also announced four new instances in Zhejiang, two in Jiangsu and three in Shanghai along with two deaths in existing cases.

Nine of the 11 new victims were male and seven of them were in their sixties and seventies.

The Beijing-based patient was the seven-year-old daughter of poultry traders and her condition had improved.

Experts fear the prospect of such viruses mutating into a form easily transmissible between humans, which would have the potential to trigger a pandemic.

But the World Health Organization (WHO) said last week there was as yet no evidence of human-to-human transmission of H7N9.

The close contacts of the victims reported on Sunday were under observation but none were reported so far to have displayed abnormal symptoms.

Health authorities in China say they do not know exactly how the virus is spreading, but it is believed to be crossing from birds to humans, prompting mass culls in several cities.

Beijing has halted poultry trading and banned the flying of pigeons, China National Radio reported on Sunday.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has said H7N9 shows "affinity" to humans while causing "very mild or no disease" in infected poultry, making it more difficult to find the source of transmission.

In 2003 Chinese authorities were accused of trying to cover up the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which went on to kill about 800 people worldwide.

But China has been praised for transparency over H7N9, with the WHO saying it was pleased with the level of information sharing and US scientists congratulating it for "the apparent speed with which the H7N9 virus was identified" in a New England Journal of Medicine article.

China has said it expects to have a vaccine ready in seven months but in the article the US experts said developing one could take "many months".

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sixth H7N9 bird flu death as China culls poultry

Apr 05, 2013

A sixth person has died of H7N9 bird flu in China, state media said Friday, after authorities slaughtered poultry in a mass cull at a Shanghai market where the virus has been detected.

China reports 2 more cases of new bird flu virus

Apr 06, 2013

Shanghai has reported two more cases of human infection of a new strain of bird flu, raising the number of cases in eastern China to 18. Six of the people who contracted the virus have died.

Hong Kong girl tests negative for H7N9 (Update)

Apr 05, 2013

A seven-year-old Hong Kong girl has tested negative for the H7N9 flu virus, officials said Friday, after she became the city's first suspected case of the disease that has killed six killed on mainland China.

H7N9 vaccine may take months, CDC says (Update)

Apr 12, 2013

US public health experts said developing a vaccine for the H7N9 strain of bird flu could take "many months", as China seeks to control an outbreak which had killed 11 people by Friday.

Recommended for you

NY and NJ say they will require Ebola quarantines

7 hours ago

The governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine for all doctors and other arriving travelers who have had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa.

WHO: Mali case may have infected many people

11 hours ago

The World Health Organization says a toddler who brought Ebola to Mali was bleeding from her nose during her journey on public transport and may have infected many people.

Two US nurses are declared cured of Ebola

12 hours ago

Two American nurses were declared cured of Ebola on Friday, and one was healthy enough to leave the hospital and meet President Barack Obama for a hug.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Lurker2358
not rated yet Apr 14, 2013
China has said it expects to have a vaccine ready in seven months but in the article the US experts said developing one could take "many months".


Shouldn't they send samples to other countries and have everyone develop a vaccine in parallel, so that all the countries are prepared? Or isn't that already done?