Hong Kong reports third H7N9 death

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong on Wednesday reported its third death from H7N9 bird flu—an elderly man who had visited mainland China—a day after authorities culled 22,000 birds to curb the disease.

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The 75-year-old man had previously travelled to the neighboring Chinese city of Shenzhen and died on Wednesday morning, a Department of Health spokesman confirmed without elaborating.

Fears over avian flu have grown following the deaths of two men from the H7N9 strain of the virus in Hong Kong since December.

A 65-year-old man with H7N9 died on January 14 and an 80-year-old man died on Boxing Day last year. Both had recently returned from mainland China.

The latest case comes a day after the city culled thousands of birds, mainly chickens, following the discovery of infected poultry imported from the mainland.

Officials wearing masks and protective suits piled dead chickens into black plastic bags Tuesday, at Hong Kong’s Cheung Sha Wan market where the virus was found.

Cheung Sha Wan—Hong Kong’s only wholesale poultry market—is now shut for 21 days for disinfection and the sale of live birds in the city has ground to a halt on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday season.

So far this year, China has confirmed 110 human H7N9 cases including 22 deaths, according to an Agence France-Presse tally of reports by local authorities.

AFP

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