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Guangdong woman infected with H7N9; 10th case in province

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A woman was infected with the H7N9 avian flu in Guangdong, becoming the 10th case in the province, said the Health Department of Guangdong province yesterday.

According to Chinese media outlets, the 51-year-old from Foshan City had first showed symptoms of infection on Dec. 31 last year, and was hospitalized three days later. The woman, surnamed Cui, is now in critical condition despite being treated by flu prevention drug Tamiflu immediately after being sent to the hospital.

Investigations by the Health Department revealed that Cui had bought a live chicken home from the market and slaughtered it herself on the day her symptoms of the flu surfaced. The Foshan City health department inspected 21 people who were in close and frequent contact with Cui but found no abnormal physical symptoms that hinted at avian flu infection.

The first case of H7N9 avian flu was reported and confirmed by Guangdong authorities in August 2013. Three of the 10 cases so far were found in Yangjiang (陽江), two each in Dongguan (東莞), Foshan and Shenzhen (深圳), and another in Huizhou (惠州). One of the patients from Dongguan died on Monday due to multiple organ failure, his three-week hospital treatment having eventually failed.

Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) reminded Taiwanese people preparing for trips to China to avoid live poultry markets, pet bird markets and to avoid direct contact with live or dead fowl. Doctors should also keep in mind to ask patients about their travel experiences and whether they have been in contact with birds of all kinds, in order to report any suspicious H7N9 cases upon discovery, said Chou.

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