China Moves to High Alert for H7N9 Bird Flu

The Xinhua news agency reported China has banned trading of live birds in some regions as the number of infections and deaths has increased.

China's Xinhua news agency reported Jan. 27 that China has taken several steps in attempt to slow the spread of H7N9 bird flu cases, banning trading of live birds in some regions of the country. The agency's news story reported that this strain of flu has killed 19 people in China this year and infected 96 people, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

H1N1 has been the dominant flu strain in the United States this season, with CDC reporting that it has received a number of reports of severe respiratory illness among young and middle-aged adults, but the U.S. agency also is advising clinicians about laboratory testing of persons under investigation for H7N9 infection. U.S. flu activity was widespread throughout the country, according to CDC's most recent FluView report, which covered Jan. 12-18.

People should be tested for H7N9 who meet these criteria, according to CDC:

  • Patients with new-onset severe acute respiratory illness requiring hospitalization (i.e., illness of suspected infectious etiology that is severe enough to require inpatient medical care in the judgment of the treating clinician), and
  • Patients for whom no alternative infectious etiology is identified.

Through Jan. 17, 133.4 million doses of flu vaccine had been distributed in the United States, according to CDC.

The Xinhua report said live poultry trading was halted in three cities in eastern Zhejiang Province, and the city of Shanghai, which neighbors Zhejiang, will stop live poultry trading Jan. 31 through April 30 and increase surveillance of poultry and industry staff.

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