This morning China’s state news agency reported the death of a 38-year-old man with the H7N9 strain of the bird flu in Guizhou Province, the first of its kind in the western province. Additionally, Xinhua reported three new cases of laboratory-confirmed H7N9 in Zhejiang Province, including one death, over the weekend. So far this year, confirmed infections with H7N9 have been reported in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Guangdong as well as Shanghai Municipality. The H7N9 strain of influenza is one of a subgroup of viruses that normally circulates among birds and only recently has been observed in people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Guizhou patient had been working in Zhejiang Province and showed symptoms of cough and dizziness a month ago before entering the hospital. Family and other people who had direct contact with the man have all tested negative for the virus. His demise raises the number of total deaths from this strain of bird flu to 151.
Among the new cases in Zhejiang province, a 75-year-old woman from Zhuji City has died. According to the provincial health authorities, the other two cases, a 78-year-old man from Yiwu City and a 34-year-old man from Ningbo City, are now in critical condition. Since the start of the new year, the number of reported cases in Zhejiang Province has totaled seven, Xinhua reported.
In China's Jiangsu Province, a new case of H7N9 bird flu was reported over the weekend in the capital city of Nanjing. The 54-year-old man contracted the illness on Thursday, according to the health department, and he is currently in serious condition.
According to WHO, the Chinese government is taking the proper measures, including strengthening surveillance, international communication, and situation analysis. The public health authorities are also conducting scientific studies and reinforcing case management and treatment. WHO does not recommend travel restrictions or special screening of travelers at this time as no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission exists. The source of infection is still under investigation.