Roast-duck vendor dies from bird flu in China

Beijing, Jan 15 (IANS) A 36-year-old man has died after contracting H7N9 bird flu, according to health authorities in China’s Henan province.

The man, identified only by the family name Zhang, died on January 11, Henan provincial health and family planning commission said in a statement on Saturday.

He is from the city of Yongcheng, but had worked in Zhejiang Province as a roast-duck vendor. On December 25, he had fever and coughing, Xinhua news agency reported.

Yongcheng city is closely monitoring the health conditions of 16 people who had close contact with the patient. None have shown any symptoms.

Also on Saturday, China’s Hubei Province reported its first H7N9 infection of the year. A 38-year-old male patient is in a critical condition. He had visited a poultry market before falling ill, the provincial health authority said.

H7N9, a bird flu strain, strikes in winter and spring. It was first reported in humans in China in March 2013.

New infections of bird flu have been reported in separate provinces. About a dozen have been reported since January began, in Jiangxi, Shandong, Hunan, Guangdong, Guizhou, Shanghai, Hubei and Macao.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that it was high season for infection of the H7N9 virus, and the possibility of more cases in southern China was not being ruled out.