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Emergency room doctor among 2 new fatal cases of H7N9 bird flu in city

The 31-year-old emergency room doctor who died of pneumonia and respiratory failure on Saturday morning was confirmed as having been infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus.

Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission today reported two new, fatal cases of H7N9 infection, including the doctor surnamed Zhang who worked at the Pudong New Area People's Hospital.

It was not announced whether these are the first two deaths from H7N9 flu this season. There have been seven cases reported in the city this year, including the two most recent cases.

According to the commission, lab samples from Zhang tested positive for the H7N9 virus yesterday and he was diagnosed with the infection by a local group of experts based on his symptoms and laboratory results.

Another case is a 77-year-old local male farmer surnamed Wu. He died in the wee hours on Saturday. His lab samples tested positive for the H7N9 virus and he was diagnosed with the infection yesterday.

Shanghai’s seven H7N9 bird flu cases this year are considered to be sporadic — not an epidemic outbreak — and those who were in close contact with them have been placed under medical observation but have not shown flu-like symptoms, the commission said.

Human cases of the H7N9 virus were first reported in China last year, and the World Health Organization reported in November that 139 confirmed cases had resulted in 45 deaths.


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