Matthew Lee Matthew Lee
10 April 2013
(c) 2013 Kyodo News
HONG KONG, April 10 -- Five new cases of human bird flu infection were reported Wednesday in eastern China, with the death toll now at nine, authorities said.
A 65-year-old farmer surnamed Hu in Zhejiang Province was being treated for H7N9 infection, but is said to be in stable condition, the provincial health bureau said on its website.
In nearby Jiangsu Province, it was confirmed a 70-year-old man surnamed Chen who fell ill on March 29 and a 74-year-old man surnamed Xu who became sick April 2 are both infected with the virus and are in critical and serious conditions, respectively.
None of the men's close contacts has developed any illnesses, the provincial health bureau said.
Two new confirmed cases were also reported in Shanghai, the city's health authorities said -- a 76-year-old woman surnamed Ma who fell ill April 1 and an 81-year-old woman surnamed Gin who became sick April 4.
Both of them are listed in stable condition and none of their close contacts are ill.
The latest cases bring to 33 the number of human infections in China since the lesser-known H7N9 strain of bird flu was first found to infect humans in nearby Anhui Province.
Nine people have died -- five in Shanghai, two in Zhejiang, one in Jiangsu, and one in Anhui where a 35-year-old woman surnamed Han, who was among the first cases reported, died late Tuesday, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Among the confirmed cases, a four-year-old boy in Shanghai has fully recovered and was released from hospital Wednesday, Xinhua said.
It also reported three people in southwestern China's Guizhou Province have been detained for up to 10 days by police for spreading rumors about positive findings of H7N9 virus in a poultry market.
The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said that including the trio in Guizhou, 13 people have been detained for distributing information on bird flu infections in five other provinces -- Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui, Fujian and Shaanxi.
"We condemned the detentions and demand their release," the center, which frequently exposes human rights violations in China, said in a statement. "People's concern over local suspected H7N9 cases can help discover and control" the infections.
So far, all the officially confirmed cases have been from provinces in the Yangtze River Delta region.
There has been no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
The World Health Organization said it has neither called for travel or trade restrictions nor for special screenings of people at points of entry.