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April 30, 2013

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Shanghai patient latest victim of H7N9 bird flu

The death of another H7N9 patient in Shanghai was announced yesterday, taking the city's total number of fatalities from the new type of bird flu virus to 13.

There were no new cases reported, the city's health and family planning commission said.

The male patient, surnamed Chen, 89, died yesterday morning. Chen, a native of neighboring Jiangsu Province, went to the Pudong New Area People's Hospital on April 12 after he developed a fever.

Chen went back to the hospital again on April 16 after his illness got worse. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the H7N9 bird flu strain that night.

Nine people who had been in close contact with Chen have been under medical observation but they have not shown any abnormal symptoms so far, the commission said.

Shanghai has now reported a total of 33 H7N9 cases with nine patients still undergoing treatment in isolation. Eleven patients who were tested positive for the virus have since recovered and have been discharged from hospital, the commission said.

Stable condition

Meanwhile, health officials in eastern Shandong Province say the 4-year-old son of a man infected with the new strain of bird flu has also caught the virus.

The provincial health department says there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission, and that the boy is in a stable condition in hospital.

The Jinan Times newspaper said that the boy's 36-year-old father had no direct contact with poultry, but that the family lives near a market that sells live poultry.

The H7N9 virus has now infected 126 people in China, including 24 patients who died.

Experts say that so far there is no evidence it can spread easily among people.

They believe infections are caused by some kind of contact with sick birds.

A joint study group yesterday said there was no evidence to indicate anyone has been infected following the consumption of poultry or eggs.

The group, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and the World Organization for Animal Health, said properly handled and cooked poultry was safe to eat, Xinhua news agency reported.

The group began working in China on April 25.


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