By Cai Wenjun | 2013-4-2
NO bird flu virus was found in dead pig samples from the Huangpu River
that provides drinking water to residents in Shanghai where two men died
in the first human infections of a new avian influenza strain, the city
government said yesterday.
The two patients, 87 and 27 years
old, became ill with fever and coughs in late February and died in early
March, suffering from severe pneumonia and difficulty in breathing.
The two were confirmed to be infected with H7N9 avian influenzas.
the Shanghai Animal Disease Prevention and Control Center tested 34
samples of pig carcasses pulled from the Huangpu River and found no bird
flu viruses, the city government said in a statement.
had aired suspicions the bird flu cases were related to the thousands
of pig carcasses recently retrieved from the river.
Hongzhou, vice president of Shanghai Public Health Center and a leading
infectious disease expert, said the pigs died in neighboring Zhejiang
Province, where no H7N9 bird flu cases had been detected.
"Bird flu virus can mutate and cause new subtypes, but it has no connection with a pig disease or porcine circovirus," he said.
Meanwhile, the city government is to step up the monitoring of flu and pneumonia cases following the deaths.
the World Health Organization says there is no evidence the H7N9 virus
which killed the men can be transmitted between people.
health officials said hospitals reported 24,000 flu-like cases in the
first three months of this year, 43.28 percent fewer than in the same
period of last year.
No hospital, flu laboratories or fever
clinic in the city detected cases of SARS, human infection with the H5N1
bird flu virus or a new SARS-like corona virus in patients with
unexplained pneumonia between November 15 and March 31 this year.
January 1 to March 29, 130 hospitals with fever clinics reported that
the number of patients with both fever and lung infections dropped by
4.34 percent from the same period of last year, the city government
A woman in Anhui Province also contracted the H7N9 virus in early March and is in critical condition.
this point, these three are isolated cases with no evidence of
human-to-human transmission," the WHO's representative in China, Dr
Michael O'Leary, told a news briefing in Beijing.
"A new virus
tends to be more virulent in the beginning. Either it is going to become
a truly human virus, in which case we have to start dealing with it
regularly, or it is going to be primarily an animal virus with just a
rare human case," O'Leary said.
There had been some complains
that the authorities took too long before announcing the deaths on
Sunday. O'Leary said the government acted properly as the deaths needed
to be investigated, Reuters reported.
"China actually for a long
time has been reporting promptly and openly. I think SARS was a turning
point globally for that sort of thing," he said, referring to the 2003
epidemic where official numbers of cases were later dramatically revised
People buying poultry at a Shanghai market yesterday
said that they hoped the government would be quicker to report new bird
"In the future, no matter what it is, the government
should make it public quickly and let the people know early. That way
they can prevent it themselves", said shopper Zhang Zhili, 60.