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AVIAN INFLUENZA, HUMAN (25): (SHANGHAI) UPDATE Update: 4/5/2013 10:40:21 AM (GMT+7)

Date: Fri 5 Apr 2013 Source: South China Morning Post, Agence France-Presse [edited]

5th death from H7N9 avian flu reported in China
11 people in China have contracted the H7N9 virus, 4 have died from
it. A new strain of bird flu has claimed 2 more lives in China's
business capital of Shanghai, taking the total number of human deaths
attributed to the H7N9 virus to 5, state media said on Thursday. 4 of
the deaths have occurred in the commercial hub, while the other was
reported in the neighbouring province of Zhejiang on Wednesday.
Chinese authorities are trying to determine how exactly the new
variety of bird flu infects people, but say there is no evidence yet
of human-to-human transmission.

The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 14, including 6 from
Shanghai, according to the official Xinhua news agency which cited
health authorities. Shanghai Health Bureau said on Thursday a
48-year-old Jiangsu man, who worked in the chicken and duck
transportation business, died on Wednesday morning [4 Apr 2013]after
contracting the virus.

A 64-year-old farmer from Wuxing district in Huzhou city who was
hospitalised on Sunday [31 Mar 2013] tested positive for the virus on
Wednesday night [4 Apr 2013] by the Zhejiang Disease Control and
Prevention Centre , Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

No abnormal conditions were found in the 55 people the man had been in
close contact with, the report said.

Also on Thursday [4 Apr 2013], an expert team of Hong Kong health
officials set off on a trip to Shanghai to gather and exchange
information on the new flu strain. The 6-member Hong Kong team sent to
Shanghai is led by the Hong Kong Hospital Authority's head of
infection, emergency and contingency planning, Dr Liu Shao-haei, and
consists of officials from the authority, the Centre for Health
Protection, and Yuen Kwok-yung, chair professor of the University of
Hong Kong's Department of Microbiology. The team will meet with
Shanghai experts over 2 days to exchange treatment and clinical
reviews regarding H7N9 influenza infection.

The World Health Organisation on Wednesday ruled out the possibility
of a pandemic because the sub-type is not thought to be transmitted
from human to human, unlike the more common H5N1 strain. But health
experts have emphasised the need to quickly identify the source of the
virus and its mode of transmission to reduce human exposure. China's
Ministry of Agriculture said on Thursday the virus has been detected
in pigeon samples collected at a marketplace in Shanghai, according to
a Xinhua report, which did not define the nature of the samples.

After gene sequence analysis, the national avian flu reference
laboratory found the strain of the virus in pigeons to be "highly
congenetic with those found on persons infected with H7N9 virus".

(By Chris Luo and Lo Wei)
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