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Bird flu cases rise to 21 in China

Beijing, Apr 8 (): China on Sunday reported three more cases of human infection of a new strain of bird flu, raising the total number of cases in eastern China to 21. Six of those who contracted the H7N9 virus have died.

The infected cases have been discovered in eastern China and Shanghai; China’s most important international business hubs have 10 of the cases, including four deaths, with two new cases reported on Sunday. Another case was reported in the nearby Anhui Province on Sunday.

A senior Chinese health official said on Sunday that the government had trained resources nationwide to fight the new strain of bird flu.

Dr. Michael O’Leary, the WHO’s representative to China said that no indication of transmission between humans has been seen and praised China for its efforts to determine the source of the virus.

At a World Health Day event in the Chinese capital, O’Leary said that in this regard he was very much impressed with the action of the laboratories and the country is showing their ability to get on top of this problem quickly.

An update from its headquarters in Geneva, the WHO said more than 530 close contacts of the 21 people now listed as confirmed cases are being closely monitored for any signs of similar disease.

The Agriculture Ministry has ordered Shanghai to stop its live poultry trade and kill all birds in markets where the virus has been found. The capital cities of the neighbouring Jiangsu provinces and Zhejiang have also suspended sales of live poultry.

In the meantime, Shanghai and other local governments have played a major role in preventing an epidemic. They have taken immediate action after the source of the virus was found, banning the trade in live poultry, culling birds and sterilizing markets. And the timely release of news about new H7N9 cases has prevented people from panicking.

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