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Death toll from H7N9 bird flu climbs in China

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 22nd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Six new cases of H7N9 avian bird flu in China have been reported in a 24-hour period, with five in Zhejiang and one in Jiangsu. A total of 102 H7N9 cases have been reported in China, including 20 that have ended in death, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - To date, 12 H7N9 patients have been discharged from hospitals after receiving treatment. The remaining 70 patients are being treated in designated hospitals, according to the commission.

A total of 33 cases, including 11 that have ended in death, have been reported in Shanghai. Twenty-four cases, including three deaths, have been reported in Jiangsu Province, and 38 cases, including five deaths, in Zhejiang Province. Three cases, with one ending in death have been reported in Anhui Province. Beijing has reported one case and three have been reported in Henan Province.

Officials stress that China's confirmed H7N9 cases are isolated with no sign of human-to-human transmission.

In response to the growing rate of infection, a joint mission of experts arrived in China to survey areas affected by H7N9 in Shanghai and Beijing for a week-long assessment of the influenza.

The World Health Organization spokesperson Glenn Thomas says that a team of 15, including international and Chinese experts in epidemiology, laboratories, clinical management and other areas, will visit a number of sites in both Shanghai and Beijing in order to study the situation and provide recommendations on prevention and control of the disease.

To prevent further transmission, the Chinese mainland will provide Taiwan with human H7N9 avian influenza virus strain. The venture will let China and Taiwan jointly explore new detection and prevention methods, mainland health authorities say.

Questions such as the source of the virus, family clusters cases and the mode of transmission will be focused on during the mission.

The mission is yet another concrete example of international cooperation in action and as well as an opportunity for international influenza experts to learn about the latest development and findings about the virus.

Telling Chinese journalists, he said that the choice of Shanghai and Beijing as destinations "is an issue about time," and he said that Shanghai was one of the core areas of the outbreak.

Thomas said that to date there were 87 confirmed cases of human infection with H7N9 virus in China, with 17 deaths. WHO reconfirmed no "easy and sustained person-to-person transmission" had been observed.

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