Fifteen additional human cases of H7N9 avian influenza have been confirmed in China, with three of those cases being fatal, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In each of these cases, the patients had some exposure to poultry.

WHO was recently notified by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China of the laboratory confirmed cases of H7N9 avian influenza. The onset dates for the cases ranged from April 19 to May 22.

The infections occurred in seven different provinces and municipalities. Anhui and Zhejiang each had four cases, Jiangsu had three, and Beijing, Fujiian, Hubei and Jianxi each had one.

The Chinese government is strengthening its surveillance as a result of the outbreaks.

According to WHO, further sporadic humane cases of H7N9 avian influenza are expected in the affected areas, as well as in nearby regions. Should human cases from affected areas travel internationally, their infection may be detected in another country during or after arrival. If this were to occur, community level spread is considered unlikely as the virus does not have the ability to transmit easily among humans, WHO stated.

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