Beijing: The nationwide death toll due to the H7N9 avian influenza in China rose to 18 on Saturday. A total of 95 cases have been reported across the country.

The Department of Health in east China's Zhejiang province reported on Saturday that a 69-year-old man surnamed Xu, who had tested positive for the virus, died Friday night after emergency treatment failed.

Confirming the upswing in the bird flu cases, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said that a total of 32 cases, including 11 that have ended in death, have been reported from Shanghai alone. China officially confirmed the occurrence of humans infected with the H7N9 virus late last month.

According to the commission, China's confirmed H7N9 cases are isolated and there has been no sign of human-to-human transmission.

President Xi Jinping has urged authorities to take effective measures to contain the spread of the avian flu. Xi said authorities should prioritise public safety and health, as well as strengthen disease control and prevention.

At present, human infections have been found in six regions -- Beijing and Shanghai municipalities and the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Anhui and Henan.

Xi also called for efforts to conduct epidemiological studies of the disease, strictly control infection sources, promote public awareness of disease prevention and accelerate the development of vaccines.


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