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June 27, 2013

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H7N9 flu kills 16th victim in city

A 56-YEAR-OLD man in Shanghai died of H7N9 bird flu in the wee hours yesterday, bringing the city's death toll from the illness to 16, Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission said.

The man, a local resident surnamed Gu, was confirmed to have a H7N9 infection on April 11 and was transferred to Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center for treatment on April 19.

Gu's wife, surnamed Yu, 52, also died of H7N9 bird flu on April 3 at Huashan Hospital after she started to have flu-like symptoms on March 27.

Including the couple, the city has reported 33 cases of H7N9 bird flu. Fifteen patients have recovered and been discharged and two are still being treated in hospitals.

Local health officials said there is no clear evidence to show human-to-human infection between the couple since they may have been exposed to the same source of infection.

Shanghai ended its citywide emergency response for epidemic diseases as of May 9 after no new H7N9 cases were reported for 20 consecutive days. All hospitals and health authorities have been told to routinely monitor and prevent the spread of bird flu. Officials said the most recent death would not invoke additional measures because the man had been sick since April.

Shanghai activated the emergency response on April 2, calling for heightened monitoring of suspicious flu cases and daily reports on cases of severe pneumonia with unclear causes by hospitals, up from weekly reports, after the city's first two human H7N9 bird flu cases emerged on March 31.

The illness was unknown in humans prior to the recent outbreak.


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