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April 16, 2013

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Shanghai's flu situation 'stable'

SHANGHAI reported no new H7N9 cases yesterday.

Officials said the number of patients with a fever and lung inflammation was within the normal range and the flu situation in the city "stable" based on reports from influenza monitoring stations at 27 hospitals.

The city's efforts to prevent the virus spreading are continuing.

About 85,000 poultry were killed at 11 designated slaughterhouses on Sunday to be deep-frozen, the Shanghai Agricultural Commission said. More than 2,100 samples were tested but all were negative for the bird flu strain.

Quarantine checks were also carried out at 95 poultry farms, six wholesale markets, 16 supermarkets with cold stores and 30 other related companies.

Industrial and commercial officials said they had shut down about 150 unlicensed poultry stalls after being tipped off by residents.

Inspectors from the food and drug administration also checked 1,127 restaurants, without finding any problems.

Shanghai has now reported 24 H7N9 cases with nine deaths and 14 patients are still being treated in isolation. The cases included a young boy who has recovered from his infection.

The average age of H7N9 patients in Shanghai is 67.6 years, health officials said.

"Elderly people are used to self-medicating and putting up with an illness until they can put up with it no more," said Dr Lu Hongzhou, vice president of the Shanghai Public Health Center.

"Almost all the patients went to see doctors five days after they had a fever. One patient was diagnosed to have the H7N9 virus 28 days after falling ill, Lu said.

"These patients had very strong complications when arriving at hospitals and missed the optimum opportunity to get treatment," Lu said.

Lu said late diagnosis resulted in a higher death rate in elderly patients as most had underlying health problems such as high pressure blood, heart disease and kidney problems.

"Underlying diseases will speed up organ failure and transmission of H7N9 virus to their lungs," Lu said.

More than 50 percent of the city's H7N9 patients had been exposed to poultry and other birds.

The city's health hotline, 12320, has received 4,733 inquiries about H7N9.

Residents wanted to know more about the new virus and how to prevent it, and also whether poultry meat was safe to eat.


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