Image credit: @presidioofmonterey.
Two more cases of H7N9 avian flu, one fatal, have been reported in Zhejiang province, bringing the total number in the country to nine. In Hunan, a 50 year old man is dead from a previously unseen strain of H1N1 swine flu, according to the local health authority.
In a statement, the provincial government said a 38-year-old cook surnamed Hong died on March 27. The man, who worked in Jiangsu Province, where four other cases of H7N9 bird flu have been identified, became ill on March 7 and returned to his home in Jiande, Zhejiang, where he was admitted to a hospital on March 18.
The other patient, a retired Hangzhou man surnamed Yang, was admitted to a hospital on March 25 with a cough and fever. He was later transferred to another hospital.
Health authorities also confirmed yesterday that he is infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus. No connection between the two cases had been found so far, the statement said.
Two men in Shanghai died from the disease this month, and five patients are in a critical condition in Nanjing.
All the patients began showing symptoms of pneumonia in the second half of March. None of them is showing signs of recovery, hospital officials said.
The Ministry of Agriculture said it had yet to find any animals infected with H7N9, though added it was possible it had been brought to China by migratory birds.
The Health and Family Planning Commission said H7N9 vaccines may be available in six to eight months.
Feng Zijian, director of the health emergency center of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said it is impossible that H7N9 could develop into a public health incident like SARS in 2003 that transmitted through humans.
“H7N9 is completely different from SARS, and those who had contact with the nine patients have shown no related symptoms,” Xinhua quoted Feng as saying.
In Hunan, a 50 year old surnamed Zhang was admitted to hospital on March 26 with respiratory problems, he passed away on April 3.
Medical staff involved in the emergency treatment did not contract the H1N1 virus and family members of the deceased are still under medical observation in quarantine.
The new H1N1 flu, an acute respiratory illness, is caused by a new strain confirmed late last year by health authorities and can spread among humans. It has similar symptoms with the H1N1 flu.
While some reports state that Zhang died from H7N9, Xinhua has numerous reports stating that the virus is the more contagious H1N1 strain.