Source: Shanghai Daily | January 5, 2014. Shanghai yesterday confirmed the city’s first H7N9 case this winter after the Shanghai Health and Family Planning Commission said an 86-year-old man was infected. The elderly patient, surnamed Zhou, had been in contact with live poultry, officials said. His infection was confirmed on Friday and has since been hospitalized for treatment.

According to Dr Lu Hongzhou, director of local H7N9 experts group, the patient is in critical condition battling serious pneumonia and shock. Lu took part in group consultation for the patient on Friday. Zhou had gone to the wet market with his wife to buy live chicken and stood by as the stall owner slaughtered the chicken in front of them. He had fever and was coughing before the trip to the market, Lu said. Those in close contact with him have also been kept under medical observation. His wife is also reported to be in good health, Lu said. Lu said autumn and winter are the peak seasons for respiratory diseases. Human infection of the H7N9 virus is still sporadic but may last for a long time.

Good personal hygiene, proper nutrition, exercise and avoiding contact with live poultry or wild birds have been effective in stemming the spread of the virus. Lu has called for a complete closure of live poultry market to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Shanghai shut live poultry markets and businesses on April 6 last year to control the spread of H7N9. The markets reopened on June 20 with strict rules in place for disinfection and management. Live poultry business will be shut from January 31, when the Chinese Lunar New Year falls, to April 30 this year to prevent recurrence of the virus.

The H7N9 strain was first reported in humans in March last year on the Chinese mainland and infected over 140 people on the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong. More than 40 people have died from the virus. Between March 31 and April 21 last year, Shanghai reported 33 cases, but no new cases were reported after that. By June 26, the last available report said 16 people had succumbed to the virus.

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