China H7N9 bird flu outbreak grows to 126 cases, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urges vigilance against the virus
The Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission has notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of addition confirmed human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9), according to a WHO update April 29.
With the addition of the new cases, the WHO says there is now a total of 126 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus including 24 deaths.
The two new fatalities are from previously reported positive patients from Jiangsu province.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who visited the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),urged health officials to remain vigilant against the lethal virus. “We cannot afford to take it easy or relax, as we are facing a new virus,” he said Sunday. “We should be prepared for any possible development.”
Li said the government will continue to cooperate with international organizations, release information openly and improve public awareness of the virus.
A new development on the bird flu front is that Chinese scientists have confirmed that the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus has been transmitted to humans from chickens.
In a newly published study in The Lancet, researchers say that chickens in poultry markets were a source of human infections meant that controlling the disease in these places and in these birds should be a priority.
Lead researcher, Kwok-Yung Yuen of the University of Hong Kong said, “The evidence … suggests it is a pure poultry-to-human transmission and that controlling (infections in people) will therefore depend on controlling the epidemic in poultry.”
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