Bird flu fears ease as alert lifted in Shanghai

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 May, 2013, 5:00am


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Shanghai lifted its flu epidemic alert yesterday, with the municipal government saying that no new human cases of H7N9 bird flu had been recorded for three weeks.

An assessment by a panel of specialists from the city's health authorities suggested the virus appeared to be under control, with the growth in new cases across the mainland slowing, and as yet no proof the virus can be transmitted from person to person, Xinhua reported.

The municipal government said 458 people who had been in close contact with H7N9 flu patients had been discharged from medical observation.

Since Shanghai reported its first human H7N9 case in late March, the city has had 33 cases. Thirteen of the patients have died and five are still receiving treatment in hospitals.

Across the nation, the number of infections stayed at 129, with 32 of the patients having died, according to Xinhua.

A 56-year-old man from Zhengzhou , Henan province, was the latest victim.

He died on Thursday after being diagnosed with H7N9 two weeks ago.

Also on Thursday, the health authorities in Guangdong issued new guidelines to hospitals and clinics, reminding them to prescribe Tamiflu or Relenza to patients if warranted and not to hesitate in using the reserved drugs, the Yangcheng Evening News reported yesterday.

The province earlier found traces of the flu virus in poultry in Dongguan city, and three neighbouring provinces have reported human H7N9 cases.

Shanghai officials had said it was considering a permanent ban on the sale of live poultry in the city. Nearby cities in Zhejiang and Jiangsu have also temporarily closed wet markets because of H7N9.