2 more die due to bird flu in China; virus traced to pigeons

Last Updated: Thu, Apr 04, 2013 17:58 hrs

Beijing: Two more persons today died in China due to the H7N9 bird flu, taking the death toll from the new strain of avian influenza to five in the country even as officials traced the new deadly virus to pigeons in Shanghai.

Also, the total number of cases of the virulent disease in the country rose to 14 with fresh cases coming to light.

Another person died in Shanghai today from H7N9 bird flu, bringing the death toll from the lesser-known strain to five around the country, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Another victim, a 48-year-old man, died of the flu in east China's Shanghai Municipality today, the third in the municipality and the fourth in the country, the report said.

The man, surnamed Chu and a native of Rugao in Jiangsu Province, was a poultry transporter and developed symptoms of coughing on March 28. He went to a private clinic following a fever on Monday and then sought help in the Tongji Hospital in Shanghai in the early hours yesterday after his condition worsened but died three hours after being admitted.

He was confirmed to have been infected with the H7N9 virus today. Eight persons who had close contact with him have shown no abnormal symptoms, the report said.

The number of persons infected with the virulent disease in China totalled 14, according to Xinhua, amid rising public concerns as the new strain, discovered in the country in the past few weeks, has no medicine or vaccine to cure it.

Out of 14 H7N9 cases, six were reported from in Shanghai, four from Jiangsu, three from Zhejiang and one from Anhui.

Agricultural authorities said the infectious H7N9 avian flu virus has been detected from pigeon samples collected at a marketplace in Shanghai.

The samples were collected at a marketplace selling agricultural products in the Songjiang District of Shanghai and tested H7N9 positive by the national avian flu reference laboratory, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.

After gene sequence analysis, the laboratory concluded that the strain of the H7N9 virus found on pigeons was highly congenetic with those found on persons infected with H7N9 virus. The Ministry has ordered beefed-up monitoring of H7N9 bird flu virus in more areas.

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