Testing population growth control with plagues?
Dangerous tool to be messing around with.
- Seven year-old victim’s parents are in the poultry business
- She is the first case outside eastern China
- The death toll is at 11 people with 37 taken ill
- Neighbouring Jiangsu province on Saturday also confirmed two more cases
- Officials in an area of Zhejiang province have begun culling chickens
- WHO says there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission
PUBLISHED: 12:49 EST, 13 April 2013 | UPDATED: 12:50 EST, 13 April 2013
A seven-year-old girl has become Beijing’s first case of a new bird flu strain that has killed 11 people.
In eastern China 37 others have fallen ill, but this is the first case showing a spread to the north of the country.
The girl, whose parents work in the live poultry trade, was admitted to a hospital in the capital on Thursday with a fever, sore throat, coughing and headache, the Beijing Health Bureau said on Saturday.
She was confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 virus on Saturday after tests by disease control and prevention centers.
Two people in close contact with her were quarantined for observation, but have shown no symptoms so far.
The virus was first spotted in late March, prompting massive slaughtering of live fowl and bans on the poultry trade in eastern Chinese cities, including Shanghai.
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Shanghai, the center of the outbreak, has reported 21 cases, including seven fatalities though the source of the virus has not yet been identified
The World Health Organisation says that there is no evidence as yet of human to human transmission.
The girl is recovering in a hospital, in a stable condition.
Shanghai authorities said Saturday that a 56-year-old man, the husband of a woman hospitalised with the virus earlier this month, became the city’s latest case after testing positive for H7N9.
Health officials believe people are contracting the H7N9 virus through direct contact with infected poutry.
Neighbouring Jiangsu province on Saturday also confirmed two more cases – a 77-year-old woman and a 72-year-old man, both in critical condition.
Zhejiang province has reported 11 cases, including two today, 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 criticised for not releasing information.
US scientists meanwhile have made a start on creating a vaccine for the new strain despite a sample from China only arriving yesterday.
Government-backed researchers begun testing a ‘seed’ strain of the virus using a genetic code posted online.
The new faster approach – born in the aftermath of the swine flu outbreak in 2009 – has seen weeks shaved off the vaccine making process.
But it could still take five to six months before one is available.