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'High alert' remains on bird flu

Updated: 2013-04-29 00:03
By WANG QIAN ( China Daily)

'High alert' remains on bird flu

Premier Li Keqiang talks to scientists during his visit to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing on Sunday. SHENG JIAPENG / FOR CHINA DAILY 

Premier hails timely release of news on outbreak, calls for quake relief efforts

Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday urged the nation to remain on high alert over the new strain of bird flu, to reduce the death rate.

The outbreak has killed at least 23 people.

Li also praised health workers for releasing information in a timely manner, saying this is vital to ease public fears.

'High alert' remains on bird flu

Visiting the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, the premier spoke highly of efforts scientists have made in studying H7N9 bird flu, with China the first to discover the genetic order of the virus on March 28.

"Within one month of finding the genetic order, we effectively controlled the disease, which means it is preventable and controllable," Li said, adding that there is no evidence to show the virus can be transmitted between humans.

He promised transparency of information, saying this will allow the public to know the truth and will relieve their fears.

Li also called staff at the Lushan county station of disease prevention and control in Sichuan province, to discuss disease prevention in quake-hit regions. Lushan was hit by the magnitude-7 earthquake on April 20, which has claimed at least 196 lives.

As of Sunday afternoon, the H7N9 strain had infected 123 people on the Chinese mainland since being detected in March.

In a study published online in The Lancet medical journal, Chinese scientists confirmed the H7N9 virus is transmitted to humans from chickens, confirming that up to now no evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found.

Last week, the World Health Organization described the virus as "one of the most lethal", and said it is more easily transmitted than an earlier strain that has killed hundreds globally since 2003.

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