H7N9 cases in China surge past 200

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
Jan 21, 2014

The number of new infections in China’s H7N9 outbreak continues a steep ascent, with 23 more cases reported over the past 4 days, along with four deaths, one of them in a health worker at a Shanghai hospital.

The daily number of new H7N9 cases equals the pace of disease activity seen during the peak of the outbreak last spring. The disease is thought to be spreading from poultry to people in settings such as live markets, and the surge of new cases comes at a time of increased demand for poultry ahead of China’s Lunar New Year celebrations later this month.

Global health groups take notice

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) yesterday warned in a statement that the rising number of human cases and the upcoming holidays pose the threat of further spread of the virus to birds and humans. It said millions of people and poultry will be on the move, and many households will slaughter poultry in their homes to celebrate the New Year. The FAO called on neighboring countries to be vigilant for H7N9 and other avian flu viruses, such as H5N1.

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