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Local H7N9 patient recovering

THE condition of a Shenzhen patient surnamed Ou who was diagnosed with the H7N9 virus last month has greatly improved, staff at Shenzhen No. 3 People’s Hospital said.

After nearly 20 days of treatment, Ou now can communicate with doctors and eat by himself.

Signs of recovery began appearing Dec. 24, as Ou’s severe pneumonia symptoms began to lessen. Ou was taken off life support systems after the virus was brought under control.

Ou is one of eight H7N9 patients in Guangdong Province at the moment, as two other cases — one in Guangzhou and one in Yangjiang — were reported Monday.

The Guangzhou patient, a 47-year-old surnamed Xie, lives in Foshan’s Nanhai District and works in poultry sales and transportation. Xie began receiving treatment in a Guangzhou hospital Friday and remained in serious condition yesterday.

The Yangjiang patient, a 71-year-old Yangdong County native surnamed Li, was admitted to a hospital Saturday and also remained in serious condition.

Local health experts reminded people to avoid crowded public areas whenever possible during the current flu outbreak, which has sent many schoolchildren to Shenzhen hospitals.

The students had symptoms including coughing and fevers. Symptoms lasted for four to five days. Xie Xu, director of the infectious disease department at Shenzhen Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said the influenza B strain is less acute than the A strain, but could cause breakouts in schools if not monitored closely. Children and the elderly should avoid crowded areas and wear air-filtering masks, Xie said.

Sales of chicken at the city’s major poultry markets have dropped by 60 percent in recent weeks because of H7N9 fears and safety concerns.

At a Futian District agricultural produce market, a chicken stand owner surnamed Chen said he could only sell about 150 chickens a day, much lower than his normal rate of about 500 chickens a day.

“The main reason is that many hotels and restaurants have reduced their purchases of chickens,” Chen said. “Business isn’t good these days.”

(Han Ximin)

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