Number Of H7N9 Cases Surpasses 100; U.S. CDC Warns Physicians To Be Vigilant

“The number of bird flu cases in China jumped Sunday to 102, including 20 deaths, the World Health Organization announced,” CNN reports, noting 70 patients remain hospitalized with the new H7N9 avian flu strain and the “WHO said there is still no evidence of human-to-human transmission” (Gray/Armstrong, 4/22). “‘Until the source of infection has been identified, it is expected that there will be further cases of human infection with the virus in China,’ the WHO said in a statement,” Reuters states (Miles, 4/21). Michael O’Leary, the WHO China representative, “described that mortality rate as ‘fairly high’ but said it was too early to draw conclusions about the disease, noting the possibility that a number of mild or asymptomatic H7N9 infections may have gone undocumented,” the Wall Street Journal notes. O’Leary “add[ed] that health authorities had tested 1,700 people who’d come into close contact with the infected and found nearly all of them to be free of the virus,” according to the newspaper (Chin, 4/19).

Xinhua reports Chinese “President Xi Jinping on Friday urged government authorities to take effective measures to contain the spread of the H7N9 avian flu,” adding, “Xi said local authorities should prioritize public safety and health, as well as strengthen disease control and prevention, according to a statement released by the General Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee” (4/19). And in the U.S., the CDC on Thursday published an “‘interim guidance‘ regarding the use of antiviral drugs in treating the disease,” GlobalPost notes, adding, “Hospitals and clinics should be vigilant for people exhibiting flu-like symptoms who have traveled from China, the [CDC] said” (Trifunov, 4/19).

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