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New bird flu strain confirmed

Officials report four cases reporter, Wuxi

April 3, 2013

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Jiangxu provincial officials said on Wednesday that an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu has so far been contained to four people, who remain in critical condition. 

State media on Tuesday announced that four people had been infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu that some believe killed two people in Shanghai last month and left a third in critical condition.

All four patients in Jiangxu are being treated, but 167 people identified to have had close contact with them have so far not exhibited any signs of infection, according to the provincial health department.

Father Thomas Guo told on Wednesday in Wuxi city, where a 32-year-old woman was confirmed to have H7N9, that his parish has received no instructions from the religious affairs or the health department.

“There is widespread talk about the epidemic but people do not feel panic,” said Fr Guo, an assistant pastor at St Joseph’s Church in Wuxi, adding that the public is not generally alerted to small-scale outbreaks and that the issue has only made headlines in the last few days.

Wang Xiangming, a financial director in Wuxi, said that residents “were told that no epidemiological connection has been found among the four patients and there is no quarantine control at traffic arteries at the moment.”

She added that she thought the infections were individual cases “but that I have stopped buying chickens in the market because one patient reportedly developed symptoms after purchasing a live chicken and another was an employee at a slaughterhouse.” 

A doctor at the Wuxi Hospital of Chinese Medicine said the hospital had increased the number of check-ups on outpatients who have suffered from fever, “but higher authorities have not notified us about other precautions or given any guidelines.”

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