Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Beijing H7N9 avian flu victim to return home, hospital says

AFP, BEIJING

A seven-year-old girl who contracted the H7N9 strain of avian flu was to leave a Beijing hospital yesterday, staff said, as the death toll from the virus in China remained at 16.

The girl, whose parents are poultry traders, was the first confirmed human case of the virus in the capital, with scores infected in eastern China.

She was due to return home yesterday afternoon, said a publicity officer at Beijing’s Ditan hospital, who provided no further details and declined to be named.

China has confirmed 77 human cases of the H7N9 avian flu virus since announcing two weeks ago that it had found the strain in people for the first time.

The girl’s mother and father, who had been quarantined for observation, were also set to return home, the state-run Beijing Daily newspaper said, adding that the seven-year-old was no longer showing symptoms.

Health authorities in China say they do not know exactly how the virus is spreading, but it is believed to be crossing to humans from birds.

Concern has also prompted Chinese consumers to avoid eating chicken, causing huge losses to the country’s poultry sector.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has said H7N9 shows “affinity” to humans, while causing “very mild or no disease” in infected poultry.

The WHO has said there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

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