China reports fourth H7N9 bird flu death
A man has died in China's business capital of Shanghai of a new strain of bird flu, state media said Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths from the H7N9 virus to four.
The 48-year-old poultry worker, from the eastern province of Jiangsu, was the eleventh person known to have been infected with H7N9 since the first human cases were reported earlier this year, according to China's CCTV.
He was the third person to die in the commercial hub, while a 38-year-old chef died in the neighbouring province of Zhejiang on Wednesday.
Shanghai health authorities said none of the eight people with whom the 48-year-old had had close contact showed signs of the illness.
An 87-year-old man in Shanghai fell ill on February 19 and died on March 4, while a man aged 27 in the city got sick on February 27 and died on March 10, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said in a statement in late March.
Health authorities said the delay in announcing the results was because it took time to determine the cause of the illnesses.
The World Health Organisation on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of a pandemic because the sub-type is not thought to be transmitted from human to human, unlike the more common H5N1 strain.
But health experts have emphasised the need to quickly identify the source of the virus and its mode of transmission to reduce human exposure.
H5N1 killed more than 360 people globally from 2003 until March 12 this year, according to the WHO.
In another development, a man in the central province of Hunan died from H1N1 (swine) flu on Wednesday, reported the Xinhua nes agency.
A 2009-2010 swine flu pandemic resulted in over 18,000 deaths worldwide, according to WHO estimates. But the strain, while highly contagious, is not thought to be more lethal than ordinary flu.