China confirms 24 H7N9 cases

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Four new cases of H7N9 bird flu have been confirmed in China in 24 hours by 5:00 pm on April 8, 2013, bringing the total number of infections to 24, Chinese health authorities said.

Seven patients have died so far, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said in a statement.

A doctor gives the medical certificate to a relative of a bird-flu patient in Anhui Province on April 8, 2013.

Of the four new cases, two were discovered in east China's Jiangsu Province, one was found in the neighboring Anhui Province, and one in Shanghai died after being newly confirmed as an H7N9 case.

China officially confirmed the occurrence of human infection with the H7N9 virus late last month.

A total of 11 cases, including five ending in fatalities, have been reported in Shanghai. Eight have been reported in Jiangsu, and two in Anhui. Three cases have been reported in the eastern Zhejiang Province, with two deaths.

No epidemiological link between those cases has been identified to date, the agency said, adding that those who have had close contact with people infected by H7N9 have been placed under medical observation.

Chinese officials expressed confidence in curbing the H7N9 bird flu, citing how the country has built capacity to deal with epidemics since the SARS outbreak.

The possibility of the virus being transmitted between humans cannot be ruled out yet, according to Michael O'Leary, the WHO's China representative.

A 4-year-old boy in Shanghai who on Thursday was confirmed infected with H7N9 has recovered, showing that not all human infections are critical.

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