Chinese toll from new bird flu rises to 9 cases, 3 dead; Hanoi bans China poultry after new bird flu strain deaths

Chinese toll from new bird flu rises to 9 cases, 3 dead

1:00pm EDT

By Ben Blanchard and Kate Kelland

BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) – China has found two more cases of a new strain of bird flu and one of the victims has died, state media said on Wednesday, bringing to nine the number of confirmed human infections from the previously unknown flu type.

A 38-year-old cook fell ill early last month while working in the province of Jiangsu, where five of the other cases were found. He died in hospital in Hangzhou city on March 27, the Xinhua news agency reported. Samples tested positive on Wednesday for the new bird flu strain, H7N9.

The second patient, also in Hangzhou, is a 67-year-old who is having treatment. Xinhua said no connection between the two cases had been discovered, and no one in close contact with either patient had developed any flu-like symptoms.

The World Health Organization said it was “following the event closely” and was in contact with Chinese authorities, which it said were actively investigating the cases amid heightened disease surveillance.Flu experts across the world are studying samples isolated from the patients to assess H7N9’S human pandemic potential.

Other strains of bird flu, such as H5N1, have been circulating for many years and can be transmitted from bird to bird, and bird to human, but not generally from human to human.

So far, this lack of human-to-human transmission also appears to be a feature of the H7N9 strain.

Of the seven other cases of the new strain, two have died, both in the business hub of Shanghai. The other five are in a critical condition in hospital in Nanjing. Shanghai, Nanjing and Hangzhou are all close to each other in eastern China.

China’s Agriculture Ministry said it had yet to find any animals infected with H7N9, though added it was possible it had been brought to China by migratory birds.

The WHO says so far it has seen no evidence of human-to-human transmission, but there are questions about the source of the infection and about how it may be being transmitted to people.

“We still don’t know the mode of transmission or host (of the virus),” said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl. “Those are the two most important pieces of information we would need. In order to control it, we need to know where it is coming from.”

The WHO said in a statement it was also focusing its efforts on encouraging collaboration between researchers to ensure information and materials are available for scientists wanting to develop diagnostic tests, drugs and vaccines.

No vaccine is currently available for H7N9 flu, but preliminary test results provided by the WHO Collaborating Centre in China suggest it is susceptible to the antiviral drugs Tamiflu, sold by the Swiss drugmaker Roche, and Relenza, sold by Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline.

Chinese authorities dismissed speculation on some websites that the H7N9 outbreak may be related to more than 16,000 pig carcasses found dumped in rivers around Shanghai.

Yin Ou, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Committee, told reporters on Tuesday that the city had tested 34 dead pigs found in the city’s Huangpu River for the H7N9 virus, but the tests had all come back negative.

China has a checkered record when it comes to tackling disease outbreaks, which some officials have previously sought to cover up. However, since the H7N9 cases have been identified, China has stepped up its alert level and said it is being transparent in dealing with them.

In 2003, authorities initially tried to cover up an epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which emerged in China and killed about a 10th of the 8,000 people it infected worldwide.

Hanoi bans China poultry after new bird flu strain deaths

Vietnam has announced an immediate ban on all Chinese poultry imports and stepped up border controls after its northern neighbour reported two deaths from a new strain of bird flu. -AFP

Wed, Apr 03, 2013

HANOI – Vietnam has announced an immediate ban on all Chinese poultry imports and stepped up border controls after its northern neighbour reported two deaths from a new strain of bird flu.

There have been seven human infections – two fatal – in China from the virulent disease, according to local authorities, the first time the H7N9 strain of avian influenza is known to have been transmitted to humans.

Hanoi has imposed the ban to “actively and efficiently prevent the intrusion of the H7N9 virus into Vietnam”, according to an urgent message signed by the Minister of Agriculture Cao Duc Phat. The ban is effective immediately, according to the notice which was posted on the ministry’s website late Tuesday.

Imported poultry from China – both legal and smuggled across the 1,350 kilometre (850 mile) land border – is commonly found in Vietnam’s markets.

Thousands of live chicks and tonnes of chicken from China have been confiscated by Vietnamese border authorities over the past few days, according to the ministry’s notice.

Last year two people died in Vietnam from bird flu but from the more common strain of avian influenza, H5N1.

According to the World Health Organisation, Vietnam has recorded one of the highest numbers of fatalities from bird flu in southeast Asia, with at least 59 deaths since 2003.

H5N1 has killed more than 360 people globally from 2003 until March 12 this year, according to the WHO.

The official Vietnam News Agency said Wednesday the H5N1 strain of virus is currently under control in the country. The government has approved purchase of 40 million doses of bird flu vaccines to prevent outbreaks.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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