January worst month in China's human H7N9 outbreak

A total of 31 people died from H7N9 bird flu in mainland China in January, the government announced Monday, making it by far the worst month in the outbreak.

There were a total of 127 confirmed human H7N9 cases in January, according to a statement by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC).

The number is almost as high as for the whole of last year, when China had 144 confirmed cases including 46 deaths.

Flu viruses are seasonal and the first human cases emerged in February 2013, so that the outbreak did not encompass all of last winter.

It has reignited fears that a could mutate to become easily transmissible between people, threatening to trigger a pandemic.

But NHFPC spokesman Yao Hongwen told a press conference: "So far the features of human infection of the H7N9 bird flu have not had obvious changes and most cases remained sporadic.

"Our monitoring has not found any... mutation in the virus and the way the virus spreads remains poultry-to-human."

The World Health Organisation also says there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.

Chinese researchers are developing vaccines for the disease and one has passed a safety test on animals, Yao added.

But according to reports clinical trials in humans have yet to begin.

According to an AFP tally of local government announcements, so far there have been at least 180 cases reported this year, including 33 deaths.

Zhejiang province in the east and the southern province of Guangdong are the worst affected, reporting 77 cases and 54 so far respectively, the tally showed.

China's traditional and popular live poultry trade should be replaced by frozen meat distribution to reduce the risk of H7N9 bird flu infection, said Shu Yuelong, director of China's national flu centre.

Live poultry markets are common in China and elsewhere in Asia, and present an ideal environment for virus spread between birds kept together in very high concentrations.

Zhejiang has said that such facilities will be closed in the province's and affected smaller towns for three months by February 15, and permanently in major cities from July 1.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China reports new H7N9 bird flu death

Jan 17, 2014

China has reported a new death from the H7N9 bird flu virus, state media said Friday, bringing the toll this year to at least four as the disease returns following its 2013 outbreak.

Shanghai reports two deaths in China bird flu outbreak

Jan 20, 2014

Two people have died from the H7N9 strain of bird flu in China's commercial hub Shanghai, including a medical doctor, the local government said Monday, the city's first fatalities from the virus this year.

Recommended for you

Depression tied to worse lumbar spine surgery outcomes

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Depressive symptoms are associated with poorer long-term outcome in patients undergoing surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), according to research published in the Oct. 1 issue of The Sp ...

Ebola death toll edging to 4,900 mark: WHO

2 hours ago

The death toll in the world's worst-ever Ebola outbreak has edged closer to 4,900, while almost 10,000 people have now been infected, new figures from the World Health Organization showed Wednesday.

US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations

3 hours ago

U.S. authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the U.S. from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. That includes returning American aid workers, federal health employees ...

US: Monitoring for all coming from Ebola nations

5 hours ago

U.S. health officials said Wednesday that they would begin monitoring all travelers—even Americans—who come to the U.S. from Ebola-stricken West African nations for 21 days, significantly expanding their vigilance.

User comments