Two more H7N9 cases found

Updated: 2013-04-04 00:13

By AN BAIJIE (China Daily)

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Two more H7N9 cases found

Medics conduct tests on samples of the H7N9 fl u virus at a lab at Beijing's Center of Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday. Scientists taking their first look at the genetics of the strain said it could be harder to track than the better-known H5N1 because it may spread silently among poultry without being detected. [Photo/Xinhua]


Analysis shows virus is sensitive to Tamiflu, but could be hard to track

Two more cases of H7N9 bird flu virus have been detected in East China's Zhejiang province, including a man who died last week, authorities said on Wednesday.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a 38-year-old patient surnamed Hong from Hangzhou, the provincial capital, who died in hospital on March 27, had the virus.

Hong was infected on March 7 while working in neighboring Jiangsu province. He returned home on March 18, according to the Zhejiang health department.

The other patient, surnamed Yang, is a 67-year-old man. He developed a cough and fever on March 25 and was admitted to hospital on Tuesday.

None of the people who came into close contact with the patients have developed symptoms of the flu, the health department said.

On Sunday, two men in Shanghai, aged 27 and 87, died from H7N9. A woman in Anhui province and four men in Jiangsu province remain in critical condition.

All patients had fevers and coughs in the early stages before developing pneumonia and breathing difficulties, China's health authorities said.

Experts say genetic analysis shows the H7N9 virus can be treated with Tamiflu, an antiviral drug that may slow the spread of influenza in the body.

Wang Xianjun, head of the Shandong provincial center of disease control, said H7N9 is sensitive to neuraminidase-inhibiting medicine such as Tamiflu, Qilu Evening News reported on Wednesday.

There are no effective vaccines for H7N9 as yet, Wang said, but using Tamiflu may be effective in the early stages.

Xu Jianguang, director of Shanghai's health and family planning commission, said on Tuesday that flu patients should use antiviral medicine at the first sign of symptoms, Xinmin Evening News reported Wednesday.

Antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu, made by Roche, and GlaxoSmithKline's Relenza proved effective against the H1N1 virus in 2009.

Scientists looking into the genetics of the H7N9 strain said it could be hard to track, as it may spread silently among poultry without being detected, the Associated Press reported.

Pang Xinghuo, spokesman for Beijing CDC, said on Wednesday it was not ruling out the possibility of H7N9 cases in the capital.

The city government has ordered hospitals to test for H7N9 in routine monitoring and to train staff on how to treat pneumonia caused by unknown factors, he said.

Wuxi government in Jiangsu province also said on Wednesday that its 32-year-old H7N9 victim had not traveled outside the city since February, nor had she eaten or had contact with poultry products.

The city's CDC has quarantined 43 people who were in close contact with the patient, and none have so far developed a cough or fever.

Meanwhile, sales of poultry in markets and restaurants in Jiangsu remain stable. People in the capital, Nanjing, waited in long lines on Wednesday to buy smoked duck, a popular delicacy, Xinhua News Agency reported.

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