H7N9 Confirmed In China's Hunan Province
April 28, 2013

First Confirmed Case Of H7N9 Bird Flu In China’s Hunan Province

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

A 64-year-old woman has become the first person in China´s Hunan Province to become infected with the H7N9 bird flu, health officials there confirmed on Saturday.

According to the Xinhua news agency, the woman, who goes by the surname Guan and is a resident of Shaoyang City, began suffering from a fever back on April 14. Hunan Provincial Health Department officials said laboratory tests had confirmed she had contracted the novel influenza strain which has resulted in 23 deaths and infected over 100 people nationwide.

A total of 41 people had come into contact with Guan, but none of them showed symptoms of infection, Reuters reports. Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) called H7N9, which was first detected in March, “one of the most lethal” illnesses in the world. They also said it was more easily transmitted than a previous bird flu strain that has resulted in hundreds of deaths over the past decade.

The woman first felt feverish four days after coming into contact with poultry, which has been confirmed as the source of H7N9 among humans, the AFP news agency reports. It is the third such announcement of the disease spreading to a new location in three days, following confirmed reports of the bird flu strain in the eastern province of Jiangxi on Thursday and the southeastern province of Fujian on Friday, they added.

As previously reported by redOrbit.com´s own Lawrence LeBlond, the strain also escaped the confines of the Far East nation this week. Taiwanese officials reported a 53-year-old citizen who had made regular trips to the Chinese city of Suzhou for work had fallen ill on April 12, just three days after coming home from one of those trips.

The man was said to be severely ill and was being treated in isolation. He was tested on Wednesday, and the results confirmed he had been infected with H7N9 bird flu. There is currently no evidence suggesting the virus is being transmitted between humans — however, the 139 people, including 110 healthcare workers, who had contact with the patient were being monitored for symptoms of influenza.