Monday, April 15, 2013

Beijing bird flu case asymptomatic

Bird flu was found in a 4-year-old Beijing boy who shows no symptoms of the infection, health authorities said, suggesting more people may be catching the H7N9 influenza virus than reported.

The first asymptomatic H7N9 case was discovered by health care workers searching for possible cases, the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau said in a statement on its website Monday.

The boy’s parents are poultry and fish sellers, and their neighbors across the street had bought chicken sold by the family of a 7-year-old girl whose H7N9 infection was reported two days ago. Her name has not been disclosed.

The boy, who also has not been named and is under medical observation, suggests that some H7N9 infections may be going unrecorded because of a lack of obvious symptoms. Almost all the 60 previous cases reported in eastern China were extremely serious, with complications extending to brain damage, multiple organ failure and muscle breakdown.