(Yicai Global) Feb. 13 -- Beijing has registered its first case this year of a human contracting the H7N9 strain of avian flu. The patient is currently in critical condition.
The 68-year old patient, a male surnamed Zhang from Langfang in Hebei province, developed symptoms at the end of January and was treated in a local clinic. He was transferred to Beijing by ambulance last week after his condition worsened and was confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 avian flu strain.
The suspected cause is Zhang's exposure to live poultry. Nobody in close contact with him has developed similar symptoms.
Although Beijing issued regulations in 2005 to close live poultry markets, live foul has still been traded on a minor scale and has been transported from the city to other parts of China, according to the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It believes more cases of human H7N9 infection may occur, mostly sporadically, but potentially clustering in isolated areas. Given the large number of medical institutions and daily inflows of patients from other cities in Beijing, others may be diagnosed with the virus after arriving in the city.
H7N9 is a strain of avian influenza contracted from sick or dead poultry carrying avian flu. Contact with live poultry is the most common cause of the virus which has symptoms including respiratory infections and conjunctivitis.