Two more people in Shanghai have been confirmed infected with the deadly H7N9 bird flu strain that has claimed the lives of six people nationwide, local authorities said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, announced yesterday that it was suspending live poultry trading - the second city to do so, following Shanghai.
And in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province, officials closed a farm produce market after H7N9 was detected among birds for sale.
Shanghai's Health and Family Planning Commission said the two male patients, one 66 years old, the other 74 developed flu symptoms late last month and were diagnosed with pneumonia over the past two days. One is a farmer and the other a retiree.
A total of 11 people who had close contact with the two men have not shown flu symptoms, said officials.
As of last night, China had confirmed 18 H7N9 cases - eight in Shanghai, six in Jiangsu, three in Zhejiang and one in Anhui Province - in the first known human infections of the lesser-known strain. Of these, four of those diagnosed in Shanghai and two in Zhejiang have died.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission said yesterday that the country's H7N9 cases were isolated and there has been no sign of human-to-human transmission.
Also yesterday, Shanghai authorities began enforcing a ban on live poultry from other parts of the country from entering the city after temporarily closing three markets to battle the H7N9 bird flu.
The authorities have launched inspections on roads, said the Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Commission.
Meanwhile, Nanjing yesterday ordered the suspension of all live poultry trade and the immediate shuttering of poultry markets.
The Nanjing government announced at a press conference that it has assembled a team to lead H7N9 bird flu virus prevention and control.
"Sales of live poultry at the three main poultry trade markets - Zijinshan, Tianyinshan and Jianye - which account for 90 percent of all poultry in the city, have been banned," said Wang Zhixi, deputy director of the Industrial and Commercial Bureau of Nanjing.
"Meanwhile, we will ban live poultry from other places from entering the city, as well as stop transporting birds out of Nanjing," Wang added.
And authorities in Hangzhou yesterday suspended trade of live poultry at a farm produce market after H7N9 was detected among quail sold there on Friday.
The second person confirmed to have H7N9 in Zhejiang Province was found to have eaten quail bought from the Binsheng Agricultural and Sideline Products Market in Shangcheng District, Hangzhou City.
Local government staff slaughtered poultry at the market yesterday.Here's another Xinhua report on the testing in Hangzhou. I wish I knew if those quail had been visibly ill before being slaughtered and eaten. The tendency of H7N9 to hitch-hike on birds without harming them, and then to attack humans, is a disturbing one.