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Beijing reports first case of new bird flu

on April 13, 2013 10:10 AM

BEIJING (AP) — A 7-year-old girl has become Beijing’s first confirmed case of a new strain of the bird flu virus that has killed 11 people and sickened 37 others in eastern China, officials said today.

The girl, whose parents are in the live poultry trade, was admitted to a hospital Thursday with symptoms of fever, sore throat, coughing and headache, the Beijing Health Bureau said. She was confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 virus today after tests by disease control and prevention centers, the bureau said.

The case in China’s capital is the first one reported outside eastern China, where the virus was first spotted in late March, prompting massive slaughtering of live fowl and bans on the poultry trade in several cities, including the financial hub of Shanghai. Shanghai, the center of the outbreak, has reported 21 cases, including seven fatalities. One person was discharged after recovering, the local government has said. The Beijing Health Bureau said the girl was recovering in a hospital and was in stable condition.

Shanghai authorities said today that a 56-year-old man, the husband of a woman hospitalized with the virus earlier this month, became the city’s latest case after testing positive for H7N9, but that it was inconclusive as to whether he had been infected by his wife.

Health officials believe people are contracting the H7N9 virus through direct contact with infected fowl and say there is no evidence the virus is spreading easily among people.

Neighboring Jiangsu province confirmed two more cases today — a 77-year-old woman and a 72-year-old man, both in critical condition. The province has reported 14 cases, including one fatality.

Zhejiang province has reported 11 cases, including two reported today by state media, and Anhui province has had two.

China has been more open in its response to the new virus than it was a decade ago with an outbreak of SARS, when authorities were highly criticized for not releasing information.

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