New case of H7N9 bird flu confirmed in China: Xinhua

An elderly woman wears a face mask as she walks on an overpass in Beijing on May 2, 2013. A 61-year-old woman from northern China was confirmed on Saturday as having contracted the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus, state media reported. -- PHOTO: AFP
An elderly woman wears a face mask as she walks on an overpass in Beijing on May 2, 2013. A 61-year-old woman from northern China was confirmed on Saturday as having contracted the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus, state media reported. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - A 61-year-old woman from northern China was confirmed on Saturday as having contracted the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus, state media reported.

The woman, from the city of Langfang in Hebei province, developed a cough and fever on July 10 and four days later was given a diagnosis of severe pneumonia, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing a Beijing municipal health bureau statement.

The woman is receiving emergency treatment in a Beijing hospital, Xinhua said, citing the statement as saying she had frequently purchased vegetables at a local market where live poultry is also on sale.

So far, nine of the woman's family members who have had close contact with her have not exhibited flu symptoms, the report said.

The first human cases of the H7N9 virus were reported in late March and it had infected 132 people in mainland China, killing 43, by the end of June, according to the latest available official figures.

While new case numbers have dropped off recently, experts remain on guard for fear the virus could mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans, with the potential to trigger a pandemic.

Official media reported on Friday that a Chinese woman who spent five weeks in intensive care with H7N9 bird flu had given birth to a girl in what was described as a "miracle" first.