04/03/2013, 00.00
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Four new cases of severe bird flu in Jiangsu

All four patients are in danger of death. But many people who came into contact with them do not have any symptoms. Infections occurred in the delta of the Yangtze river, where more than 16 thousand dead pigs were dumped. The World Health Organization does not rule out a connection with the slaughter of the pigs. Travelers who arrive from China to Hong Kong and have respiratory symptoms, are required to wear masks and be seen by a doctor.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Four people in Jiangsu province are in danger of dying after being infected with the H7N9 avian influenza virus. The news was released after the death of two patients of the same virus in Shanghai and the serious illness of a woman in Anhui.

The Jiangsu Department of Health confirmed that four new cases developed symptoms between March 19 and 21. The patients are a 45 year old woman in a butcher market in Nanjing, a woman of 48 years from Suqian, a man of 83 from Suzhou and a woman of 32 from Wuxi. All four are in critical condition with serious respiratory problems. But at least 160 people who were in contact with them have not yet developed any symptoms.

The first news of the death caused by the H7N9 emerged three days ago with the announcement of the death of a man of 87 and one of 27 in Shanghai, in the same hospital, which was compounded by the news of the serious illness of a 37 year-old woman in Anhui.

All infections occurred in the Yangtze River Delta, where in recent weeks there was a widespread outbreak among swine, whose carcasses - at least 16 thousand - were dumped into the river. The Department of Agriculture, after having carried out tests, exclude that the deadly virus is related in some way to the pig slaughter. But the World Health Organization has stated that, although so far the tests are negative, a link between the infection and dead pigs cannot be ruled out.

The low level of prevention and health care in the country is adding to concerns about infection. In addition, the delta of the Yangtze, which includes Shanghai, is the area with the greatest concentration of international contacts in China, due to trade. This could lead - as happened in 2003 with the SARS epidemic - to a pandemic.

The Department of Health of Hong Kong is advising travelers returning from Shanghai, Guangdong and Anhui who have respiratory symptoms, to wear masks and immediately see a doctor.


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