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The case was confirmed following a test by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention early Saturday.
A medical worker feeds a seven-year-old girl infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu at the Beijing Ditan Hospital in Beijing, capital of China, April 12, 2013. This was the first case of H7N9 infection in the Chinese capital. The child is in stable condition, and two people who have had close contact with the child have not shown any flu symptoms. [Photo/Xinhua]
The child is being treated at Beijing Ditan Hospital and is in stable condition, Zhong Dongbo, deputy director of the municipal health bureau, said at a press briefing.
The girl developed flu symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat and headache, Thursday morning. She was brought to Beijing Ditan Hospital to seek medical treatment around noon and was then hospitalized for a lung infection.
The child received the drug Tamiflu, as well as intravenous drips on Thursday night, and was later transferred to an intensive care unit after her condition worsened. After oxygen therapy and other treatment, her coughing eased markedly and her body temperature fell to 37 degrees Celsius from 40.2 degrees Celsius, said Cheng Jun, deputy president of the hospital.
"The girl's temperature was close to normal in the morning and she ate a small bowl of porridge for breakfast. A couple of hours later she asked a nurse to bring her a chocolate pie, as she was hungry again," said Cheng.
The girl's parents, the only two people who have had close contact with her, are under quarantine but have not shown any flu symptoms, Zhong said.
Zhong added that the parents were engaged in live poultry trading in a township in the Shunyi District in Beijing's northeastern suburbs.
The case in Beijing and two more discovered in Jiangsu Province on Saturday raised the number of H7N9 infections in China to 46, with all of the cases except the Beijing case located in east China. The first known human infections of the deadly virus have claimed the lives of 11 people, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
According to the commission, China's confirmed H7N9 cases are isolated and there has been no sign of human-to-human transmission.
Zhong said the city government has set up a headquarters to lead efforts in stemming the spread of the disease and also ordered increased supervision over high-risk groups. Fifty-five labs are being used to screen flu cases citywide.
The Beijing Drug Administration has been ordered to stock up on medication, including enough Tamiflu for 2 million people.
The first infection in Beijing has prompted local authorities to announce strict closures of all live poultry markets and a ban on live poultry trading. Carrier pigeon hobbyists have been ordered to cage their birds and agricultural and forestry authorities will increase supervision over wild birds.
Authorities have slaughtered 503 domestic fowl raised by 51 households and ordered the caging of 2,700 carrier pigeons in the village where the family of three lives.
The family moved to the village in Shunyi on April 2 to run a live poultry trading booth. They bought 75 chickens and sold 73, with more than half going to local villagers, and cooked the remaining two to eat themselves. The child's father halted the business on April 6 after learning about the H7N9 infections in southeast China.
The father bought the chickens from a trader from Tianjin, a city located some 120 km south of Beijing. The Shunyi district government has notified Tianjin health authorities about the case, the Shunyi publicity department said.
Tests of 156 samples collected from the culled birds found no H7N9 virus, said Wang Bin, head of the veterinary department under the municipal bureau of agriculture.
Authorities have yet to order the massive slaughter of birds across the city, as no H7N9 infections were detected in more than 5,600 samples collected from domestic and wild birds, said Liu Yaqing, deputy director of the agricultural bureau.
Beijing, however, faces further risks, as migratory birds are flying back to north China and it is possible for people to become infected outside of the city, said Deng Ying, head of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Schools in Beijing have been ordered to boost daily temperature check-ups and report possible cases to education authorities within one hour of their discovery. Students and teachers have been ordered to refrain from coming to school and to seek out medical treatment if they develop symptoms.
Four people in the provinces of Hebei, Hainan and Heilongjiang have been held or fined by police for spreading online rumors about the virus, local police said Saturday.
A drug store in Hunan Province is being investigated by local authorities for spreading similar rumors in order to boost sales.