A Shanghai resident who was on business in Shenzhen and a Shenzhen woman have been confirmed to have contracted the H7N9 strain of bird flu, marking the first two cases of the year and bringing the number of human infections in Guangdong Province to 21, the city’s center for disease control and prevention (CDC) said yesterday.
Both of the patients have recovered and been released from the hospital, Ma Hanwu, deputy director of the CDC, told reporters yesterday.
The Shanghai man, aged 33, came to Shenzhen in December and dined at a Shenzhen restaurant where there was live poultry. The Shenzhen resident, aged 34, is a housewife who lives in Buji Subdistrict, Longgang District. Epidemiological research found that she had visited a nearby market where live poultry was sold, before developing the symptoms. They both sought medical help at the early stages of the disease.
All of the 81 people who had close contact with the two patients showed no symptoms.
The CDC and the city’s health department have warned the public to be vigilant against bird flu and urged the public to maintain strict personal, food and environmental hygiene.
“Exposure to live poultry is a high risk factor in bird flu contraction, and the most effective protection from being infected with H7N9 is not to have contact with live poultry,” said Ma.
Starting Jan. 1, 2016, Shenzhen enacted restrictions on live poultry operations, and requires that live poultry be slaughtered by certain licensed companies, transported through cold chains and sold refrigerated. All parties, including consumers, are advised to abide by the regulations.
“The recent cases have shown that there is still room for all parties, including consumers, to strictly abide by the regulations,” said Ma.
Guangdong Province has reported 21 H7N9 bird flu cases this year, 10 of which were fatal.
Of the 21 infections, five were reported in Guangzhou and another five in Foshan. The other cases occurred in cities including Shaoguan, Meizhou, Dongguan and Zhongshan.
Beijing also reported a human H7N9 case last week.
A number of provinces have rolled out measures to prevent the virus from spreading, with live poultry sales suspended in cities in Sichuan, Hunan, and Zhejiang provinces, according to a Xinhua report.
H7N9 was first reported to have infected humans in China in March 2013. Infections usually occur in winter and spring.