Bird flu kills 2 and sick­ens 3 in Anhui

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By SHAN JUAN shan­juan@chi­

Hu­man bird flu has killed two peo­ple in China this win­ter, but the chance of largescale out­breaks re­mains low na­tion­wide, a se­nior health of­fi­cial said on Fri­day.

“The na­tion is at risk of spo­radic hu­man bird flu cases now, in the peak sea­son of viruses, but the chance of a mass out­break is very slim," said Mao Qun’an, spokesman for the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Lo­cal health au­thor­i­ties in East China’s Anhui prov­ince con­firmed on Fri­day that there have been five H7N9 bird flu cases in the prov­ince since Dec 8 and two peo­ple have died.

One of the deaths was re­ported in Xuancheng and the other in the pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal of He­fei, ac­cord­ing to the Anhui Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion. The vic­tims’ names and in­for­ma­tion on when they died were not dis­closed.

The three other cases were in He­fei and Lu’an, in Anhui.

This week, two ad­di­tional cases of peo­ple in­fected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu were re­ported in Shang­hai and in Xi­a­men, Fu­jian prov­ince. Both pa­tients are re­ceiv­ing med­i­cal treat­ment.

H7N9, a strain of bird flu most likely to strike in win­ter and spring, was first re­ported to have in­fected hu­mans in China in March 2013.

He Xiong, deputy di­rec­tor of the Bei­jing Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, said that bird flu in­fec­tion, de­spite vari­ant strains like H7N9 and H5N6, is mainly an avian rather than hu­man ill­ness, so there’s no need to worry about an out­break.

While there have been in­di­vid­ual hu­man in­fec­tions, “The viruses never spread among hu­mans,” he said, dis­miss­ing the prospect of large-scale hu­man out­breaks.

Mao said that China main­tains steady and sound sur­veil­lance of the avian and hu­man pop­u­la­tions and would soon know of any change in the health sit­u­a­tion.

Also, “Live poul­try mar­kets, which are be­lieved to be the hot spots for a bird-to-hu­man trans­mis­sion of bird flu, have long been placed un­der strict con­trol,” he said on Fri­day at a news con­fer­ence on med­i­cal re­form held by the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice..

“China’s dis­ease re­sponse sys­tem, par­tic­u­larly for in­fec­tions that can strike an­i­mals and peo­ple, is a joint ef­fort by hu­man health and agri­cul­ture de­part­ments and among dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the coun­try. Be­cause of this, China is well pre­pared to con­tain out­breaks,” Mao said.

He warned peo­ple to avoid fre­quent con­tact with wild birds and live poul­try.

In south China, live poul­try mar­kets are com­mon.


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