BEIJING >> A 7-year-old girl has become the first confirmed case in Beijing of the latest strain of bird flu virus, which has killed 11 and sickened 34 others in eastern China, officials said Saturday.
The Beijing Health Bureau said the girl, whose parents are in the live poultry trade, was admitted to hospital Thursday with symptoms of fever, sore throat, coughing and headache. It said she was confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 virus on Saturday after tests by disease control and prevention centers.
The case in China’s capital is the first one reported outside eastern China, where the virus was first spotted in late March, prompting massive slaughtering of live fowl and bans on poultry trade in several cities, including the financial hub Shanghai. Shanghai, the center of the outbreak, has reported 20 cases, including seven fatalities.
Neighboring Jiangsu province on Saturday confirmed two more cases involving a 77-year-old woman and a 72-year-old man, both in critical condition. The province has reported 14 cases, with one dead.
Zhejiang province has reported nine cases, and Anhui province has had two.
China has been more open in its response to the new virus than it was a decade ago with an outbreak of SARS, when authorities were highly criticized for not releasing information.
The Beijing Health Bureau said in a statement that the girl is recovering and is in stable condition in a hospital and that two people who had been in close contact with her showed no flu symptoms.
Health officials believe people are contracting the H7N9 virus through direct contact with infected fowl and say there is no evidence the virus is spreading easily among people.