Beijing reports first human case of H7N9 bird flu

Beijing reports first human case of H7N9 bird flu

POSTED: 13 Apr 2013 10:12 AM
A seven-year-old girl was confirmed as Beijing’s first human case of H7N9 bird flu on Saturday, local authorities said, as China’s outbreak of the disease spread to the capital.

BEIJING: A seven-year-old girl was confirmed as Beijing’s first human case of H7N9 bird flu on Saturday, local authorities said, as China’s outbreak of the disease spread to the capital.

The girl, whose parents are poultry traders, was in a stable condition in hospital, the Beijing health bureau said. Her mother and father had been quarantined for observation but had shown no symptoms so far, it added.

She developed a fever, sore throat and headache on Thursday, it said, and her parents took her to hospital. Samples from her tested positive H7N9 the following day, and the national disease control centre confirmed the results on Saturday.

Chinese officials announced nearly two weeks ago that they had found the H7N9 strain in humans for the first time, and the girl brought the number of confirmed infections in the outbreak to 44, 11 of whom have died.

All previous cases had been confined to eastern China. Experts fear the prospect of such viruses mutating into a form easily transmissible between humans has the potential to trigger a pandemic.But the World Health Organization (WHO) said this week that there was as yet no evidence of human-to-human transmission of H7N9.

Health authorities in China say they do not know exactly how the virus is spreading, but it is believed to be crossing to humans from birds, triggering mass poultry culls in several cities.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FA0) has said H7N9 shows “affinity” to humans while causing “very mild or no disease” in infected poultry, making finding the source of transmission more difficult.

The statement from the Beijing health bureau did not say whether the girl or her family members had recently travelled to any of the areas where H7N9 infections have been identified.

But Cheng Jun, vice-director of Ditan hospital, where the girl was being treated, told state broadcaster CCTV: “Ever since the outbreak started in Shanghai we have been making preparations.”

Beijing, which has a population of more than 20 million, has already banned live poultry trading and pigeon releases, the health bureau said.

Authorities have also ordered stepped-up surveillance of wild birds in the city and people at risk of infection, such as poultry farmers, transporters and vendors, it added.

Shanghai has had 20 confirmed cases so far and was the first to halt trading in live poultry and cull birds last week, followed by other cities in eastern China.

US fast food giant KFC, already hit by an earlier scandal in China over antibiotics in chicken, saw March sales in the country plunge 16 percent, with parent Yum! Brands saying bird flu publicity had “a significant, negative impact”.

In 2003 Beijing was accused of trying to cover up the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which went on to kill about 800 people globally.

But it has been praised for transparency over H7N9, with the WHO saying it was pleased with the level of information sharing and US scientists congratulating it for “the apparent speed with which theH7N9 virus was identified” in a New England Journal of Medicine article.

China has said it expects to have a vaccine ready in seven months but in the article the US experts said developing one could take “many months”.

Beijing Confirms Child’s H7N9 Case, First in North China

Beijing today confirmed that a seven-year-old girl whose parents sell live poultry has been infected with H7N9 avian influenza, the first case to be reported in northern China.

The report brings the total number of cases of the strain of bird flu to 44, after five new infections were confirmed in the 25-hour period ended 6 p.m. yesterday in Shanghai and eastern Zhejiang province, based on government data. Eleven people have died.

Beijing has halted live poultry trading as part of its measures to step up prevention of the disease, Zhong Dongbo, a spokesman with the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau, said in a press conference broadcast live on China Central Television this morning.

The child, surnamed Yao, was taken to Beijing Ditan Hospital Capital Medical University for treatment on April 11 with symptoms including a fever, headache and sore throat. She was confirmed with the virus at midnight last night, Zhong said.

The girl is recovering and her body temperature has dropped to about 36.8 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit), Zhong said. Yao’s parents, who live and sell poultry in Shunyi district, have been placed under medical monitoring and haven’t yet shown symptoms of infection, the official said.

Shunyi is a suburb on the northern edge of the city near the Beijing Capital International Airport. It is a popular residential area among expatriates and some international schools are located there.

The first three cases of H7N9 were announced by the central government on March 31. Until today, all those infected were in eastern China with 20 cases in Shanghai, 12 in Jiangsu province, two in Anhui province and nine in Zhejiang province, according to the government.

China has said it has enough flu medication to fight the outbreak, and the government is also preparing a vaccine that it expects will be ready within seven months, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on April 10.

–Tian Ying. Editors: Nerys Avery, Paul Gordon

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Tian Ying in Beijing at ytian@bloomberg.net

April 12, 2013, 11:39 p.m. ET
Bird-Flu Case Reported in Beijing

BEIJING—Chinese authorities said a girl in the northern Chinese capital of Beijing had tested positive for a deadly new form of avian flu, in the first reported case outside the region surrounding the eastern city of Shanghai.

Beijing’s health bureau said on Saturday that a 7-year-old girl surnamed Yao tested positive for the H7N9 bird flu. The girl is in stable condition at a local hospital, it said. Officials said her parents are poultry sellers and live in Beijing’s Shunyi district.

Authorities said her parents don’t appear to have the disease. Experts both inside and outside of China say the disease doesn’t appear to be contagious from person to person, which would make it considerably more dangerous.

The Beijing infection increases the total number of known cases in China to 44, of which 11 have died. On Friday authorities reported five new cases. Until Saturday the cases have been in Shanghai or in the neighboring provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui, on China’s eastern coastal region. Many of the reported cases have involved people in close contact with birds.

Since March 31, when the first infections were reported, local officials in the region have closed live poultry markets and culled birds in a number of places. National authorities have also revved up their response.

Beijing health authorities said the girl was first sent to a hospital on Thursday, then referred to a local disease-control center as a potential bird flu case on Friday. National disease-control officials confirmed it was a bird-flu case early Saturday morning, they said.

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 (www.heroinnovator.com), 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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