Chinese authorities have reported the first case of H7N9 “bird flu” in Beijing after a 7-year-old girl has been hospitalized in the capital.
The girl, whose parents are poultry traders, developed a fever, sore throat and headache on Thursday. Her condition is said to be stable.
Two people in close contact with the child were quarantined for observation but have shown no symptoms so far.
The UN had recorded 28 cases and nine deaths in China as of Wednesday.
Chinese authorities have reported the first case of H7N9 bird flu in Beijing after a 7-year-old girl has been hospitalized in the capital
There are no reported cases outside the country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
China’s national disease control centre confirmed on Saturday that the girl take ill in Beijing had the H7N9 virus.
The first cases of the virus were reported in February, in eastern China.
According to the WHO, there is no evidence that the H7N9 virus is being transmitted between people, and most cases come from poultry.
International health experts have commended China on its transparency in reporting the spread of the virus, in sharp contrast to its handling of a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, when 8,096 people were infected worldwide and 744 died.
China is increasing efforts to contain the spread of a new strain of bird flu which has killed six people in the country.
The authorities in Shanghai, where four deaths were recorded, have closed three poultry markets and banned the import of all live birds into the city.
China has now identified 16 domestic cases of the H7N9 virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says there is no evidence yet that the virus is being transmitted between humans.
The human cases of H7N9 have all occurred in eastern China, in Shanghai and its neighboring provinces of Anhui and Zhejiang.
China is increasing efforts to contain the spread of a new strain of bird flu which has killed six people in the country
The latest death was a 64-year-old man who died in Zhejiang, the second death there, state media report. There was no sign of infection in anyone who had had close contact with him, said officials.
On Thursday, officials began the slaughter of at least 20,000 birds in Shanghai after the virus was detected in pigeons sold in Huhuai market.
The trading of live birds – how poultry is traditionally sold in China – has also been halted at a market in the Zhejiang city of Hangzhou, after the virus was detected in quail being sold there.
The authorities in Hong Kong are also bringing in extra precautions, including heightened checks at immigration points, while other countries in the region have boosted their own influenza responses.
The H7N9 is a form of avian flu not previously been found in humans. The WHO says information about it is still limited, but that all the victims have had severe pneumonia, with symptoms including a fever and shortness of breath.
It is also not yet known how all the infections occurred, with the WHO unable to confirm any cases of human-to-human transmission.
The Chinese government has promised to openly share information about the virus, after being accused of trying to cover up health crises in the past.
Shanghai poultry markets have been temporary closed by authorities due to the H7N9 bird flu outbreak.
A spokesman for the city authorities said the decision was taken on grounds of public safety.
Shanghai has already begun a mass slaughter of poultry after the virus was discovered in pigeons at a market.
Six people have died in this latest outbreak. The H7N9 virus is a form of avian flu not before seen in humans.
Shanghai poultry markets have been temporary closed by authorities due to the H7N9 bird flu outbreak
It is not yet known how people are catching the disease, although the World Health Organization says there is currently no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
Four of the bird flu fatalities in China have been recorded in Shanghai.
The Chinese city is also monitoring another person who was in close contact with one of those who died after showing flu-like symptoms.
Shanghai health official, Wu Fan, was quoted by AFP news agency as saying that the person tested negative for H7N9.
“There is no possibility of spreading the infection overseas,” Wu Fan also told a press conference.
Officials ordered the slaughter of at least 20,000 birds starting late on Thursday after the virus was detected in pigeons sold in Huhuai market.
Entrances to poultry markets were sealed and police stood watch as workers disinfected the areas, reports say.
There have been 14 confirmed infections of the new bird flu virus so far in eastern China, including in Shanghai and Zhejiang province.
The latest fatality was a farmer, 64, who died in Zhejiang, state-run media say.