This will be fun: let’s track new cases of bird flu, specifically this new, confounding H7N9 strain. Four more cases have been reported by a health bureau in Jiangsu province, according to AP. It remains non-contagious and not actually caused by birds.
The health bureau of eastern Jiangsu province said in a notice on its website that three women, aged 45, 48 and 32, and an 83-year-old retired man, from different cities in the province, were all critically ill with the H7N9 virus, a diagnosis confirmed by the provincial disease prevention centre.
…The level-3 response plan, the second-lowest in a four-stage scale, reflects higher concern after the H7N9 bird flu virus led to the deaths of two men in Shanghai and seriously sickened a woman in the city of Chuzhou 360 kilometres west.
“The health bureau will take effective and powerful measures to prevent and control the disease, to make sure the flu epidemic is effectively guarded against and to safeguard the health of the city’s residents,” said Xu Jianguang, head of the Shanghai Health Bureau.
UPDATE, 9:53 am: Many have already speculated and commented on the connection of H7N9 and the disease that killed all those pigs, but if not, here’s Quartz:
Chinese authorities, who have so far been cagey about the mass pig death, should test the pig carcasses for H7N9 and disclose whether they had something to do with the two deaths in Shanghai. Peter Katona, professor of medicine at the division of infectious diseases at UCLA’s medical school, says “All of that is possible, but you really don’t know until you do some tests of the animals.”