Beijing girl infected with H7N9 recovering

PHOTO: Beijing girl infected with H7N9 recovering

The first person infected with H7N9 flu in Beijing is recovering and will be discharged from hospital soon, health authorities said on Monday.

Tests for the virus on Saturday and Sunday on the 7-year-old girl all proved negative, and she was transferred from intensive care to an ordinary ward, said Zhong Dongbo, deputy director of Beijing health bureau.

"She hasn't suffered a relapse after her body temperature returned to the normal range three days ago," said Chen Zhihai, director of the infectious disease department of Ditan Hospital, where she is being treated.

"She is not showing respiratory or alimentary canal symptoms. The level of her white blood cells has been restored.

"We are planning to stop Tamiflu treatment based on the expectation that she will not suffer a relapse." According to the standard of treatment of H7N9 infection issued by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, a patient with H7N9 can be discharged if they have a normal body temperature and no related symptoms, and have tested negative for the virus in two consecutive tests.

The girl's parents are also under observation at Ditan Hospital and are doing fine so far, Zhong said.

Her mother "hasn't shown any symptoms", he said. "The test can be too sensitive and unstable sometimes. We will inform the public when viable and confirmed results come out."

According to Zhong, the city government now asks all people with flu-like cases to have pathogen tests, and it is monitoring people across he city who have more frequent contact with poultry.

"We now test the throat swabs of about 1,600 people a day," he said. "The city's finance bureau has given the health bureau another 30 million yuan ($4.85 million) for prevention and control of the disease."

Flu-like cases monitored and reported by 421 local medical institutes this year show that the prevalence of such symptoms in Beijing is slightly lower than last year, said Zhong.

News of the girl's recovery came as Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces each reported a new case, with the victims all in critical condition. A 77-year-old woman in Jiangsu diagnosed with H7N9 died on Sunday. She had undergone surgery for rectal cancer and had hypertension.

As of 8 pm Monday, 63 cases of the H7N9 strain of bird flu have been reported across China. Fourteen of the cases have resulted in death, according to local health authorities.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission said it is going to set up a team with the World Health Organisation to conduct a week-long assessment of the prevalence of the virus in China, and the nation's work to prevent and control the disease.

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