WHO confirms H7N9 cases as labs track risks

Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
Dec 10, 2013

The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed four recent novel H7N9 avian flu cases, as scientists revealed their latest risk assessments based on genetic monitoring and lab tests.

In a statement, the WHO said it has received reports of two infections from China’s Zhejiang province, which include cases involving a 57-year-old man and a 30-year-old man who is his son-in-law. Some machine translations of a Chinese-language media report had suggested the two were father and son.

Health officials address new cases

A report today from Xinhua, China’s state news agency, had more details about the connection between the two men. Li Lanjuan, MD, director of the Infectious Diseases Lab in Zhejiang province, told the news service that the man and his son-in-law were not living together before the older of the two got sick, but the younger one cared for his sick father-in-law.

Lanjuan said it’s not clear if the older man transmitted the virus to his son-in-law.

The WHO said it also received reports of two H7N9 cases recently detected in Hong Kong, both of whom had traveled from the nearby mainland city of Shenzhen. The patients are a 36-year-old woman who was hospitalized in Hong Kong on Nov 27 after visiting Shenzhen, where she had slaughtered a chicken for cooking and eating.

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