China readies to fight new bird flu; Japan, HK on guard

By REUTERS
April 4, 2013 19:13
1 minute read.

 
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BEIJING - The death toll from a new strain of bird flu rose to five in China on Thursday as Beijing said it was mobilizing resources nationwide to combat the virus, Japan and Hong Kong stepped up vigilance and Vietnam banned imports of Chinese poultry.

The H7N9 bird flu strain does not appear to be transmitted from human to human but authorities in Hong Kong raised a preliminary alert and said they were taking precautions at the airport.

In Japan, airports have put up posters at entry points warning all passengers from China to seek medical attention if they suspect they have bird flu.

A total of 14 people in China have been confirmed to have contracted H7N9, all in the east of the country. One of the cases was a four-year-old child, who was recovering, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Two people died on Thursday, both in Shanghai, bringing the number of deaths to five, state media said. Four of the five have died in Shanghai, China's booming financial hub.

Authorities in Shanghai also discovered the H7N9 virus in a pigeon sample taken from a traditional wholesale market, Xinhua added, believed to be the first time the virus has been discovered in an animal in China since the outbreak began.

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