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H7N9 avian influenza outbreak reaches 221 as mainland China reports seven more

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Seven new human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) have been reported from China today bringing the total cases confirmed from the mainland to 221, according to a Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) press release dated Jan. 24.

Of the seven newly reported cases, one case involves a 34-year-old Shenzhen woman who is being treated, a 61-year-old Shanghai woman, also hospitalized for her illness and five cases from Zhejiang province (two men and three women, all being treated).

In fact, Zhejiang province, what virologist Dr. Ian MacKay calls, " a region that has served as H7N9's playground over the past few weeks", has reported human H7N9 avian flu cases for 15 consecutive days (since Jan. 9).

This has prompted market closures and the halting of live bird trading in Hangzhou's (the capital city of Zhejiang) markets.

"Pathological samples" from markets in Zhejiang province has shown that 9.0 percent of birds tested (18/200) were positive for the H7N9 virus.

For the past four weeks alone on the mainland, tallies have hit 25, 26, 7 and 12 cases (=70 so far) per week for the past 4-weeks (beginning Dec. 30, Jan. 6, Jan 13 and Jan. 20, respectively), according to Dr. MacKay.

The CHP reports the breakdown of cases on the mainland by province as follows:

Zhejiang (88 cases), Shanghai (41 cases), Jiangsu (31 cases), Guangdong (27 cases), Fujian (12 cases), Jiangxi (six cases), Anhui (four cases), Henan (four cases), Beijing (two cases), Hunan (two cases), Shandong (two cases), Hebei (one case) and Guizhou (one case, imported from Zhejiang), as of Jan. 23.

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