Shanghai Daily, August 10, 2013, Saturday. A NEW suspected case of human infection with the H7N9 strain of avian influenza was reported yesterday in south China’s Guangdong Province. The Guangdong Provincial Department of Health announced that the sample from a female patient in Huizhou City had tested positive for the virus in initial tests on Tuesday. The 51-year-old woman, surnamed Chen, is in critical condition, the department said. She is now being treated in Huizhou City Central People’s Hospital. Chen had been a poultry slaughtering worker in a local market for many years, the department added. Thirty-six people who had close contact with her have been put under medical observation. They have shown no abnormal symptoms so far, the department said.Chen tested positive for H7N9 in the Huizhou City Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. The result was later confirmed when it was checked by the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The provincial department has dispatched a team of five medical experts to the hospital to help with Chen’s treatment.
The Guangdong Provincial Agricultural Department has allocated five tons of disinfectant to prevent the virus from spreading further. China ended the emergency response to the H7N9 avian flu outbreak in late May. Health authorities said on Thursday that the country maintains its assessment on the public health risks of H7N9 avian flu, despite a research paper indicating possible human-to-human transmission. Deng Haihua, spokesman with the National Health and Family Planning Commission, confirmed that health authorities were aware of the cases mentioned by the research paper, which was published by the British Medical Journal on Tuesday. “The report on the British Medical Journal does not change China’s judgement of public health risks imposed by the disease,” said Deng. A father and his daughter died of H7N9 in east China’s Jiangsu Province in April. Researchers in Jiangsu studied the two cases and concluded that the virus may have spread from father to daughter.