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China Premier Asks to Stay on High Alert on H7N9 Bird Flu

China Premier Li Calls for High Alert on Bird Flu as Cases Rise
Health workers collect blood samples from chickens at a poultry farm on April 17, 2013 in Taizhou, China. Source: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called on health officials and residents to remain vigilant against the bird flu, as the number of infections rose over the weekend.

“We need to stay on high alert as this is a new virus, and we don’t have all the information,” Li said today during a visit to the nation’s disease control agency in Beijing, according to a report posted on China National Radio’s website. “It looks preventable and controllable now, and there is no evidence showing human-to-human transmission.”

China reported 10 more cases of the H7N9 avian influenza since early Friday, bringing the total number to 122 including 24 deaths, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and the official Xinhua News Agency. The central province of Hunan confirmed its first case yesterday, while eastern Jiangxi added three more for a total of five, according to Xinhua.

Li urged health officials to lower the rate of fatalities from the disease and to continue releasing information to the public, according to today’s report. He spoke with officials from Zhejiang province, which has had 45 cases, as well as those from Lushan county in Sichuan province, the epicenter of the 6.6-magnitude earthquake on April 20, on epidemic prevention through video conferences, said the report.

Michael O’Leary, the World Health Organization’s representative in China, visited the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention today as well, according to CNR.

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