79 died from H7N9 bird flu in China in January

Up to 192 people were infected with H7N9 bird flu and 79 people died in January, according to data released by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) on Tuesday.

The numbers are sharply higher compared with December last year. According to the data, 106 people were infected with H7N9 bird flu and 20 people died in December.

Provinces including Yunnan, Fujian, Hunan, Hubei, Zhejiang in southern part of China, and the capital city Beijing have all been affected by H7N9 bird flu since this year.

The H7N9 bird flu cases has been increasing in the country and most of the cases are in Yangtze River delta and Pearl River Delta in southern China, according to Shu Yuelong, director of the national influenza center of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cited by official website of China National Radio.

According to Shu, the local custom of selling and eating live poultry is one of the factors escalating influenza in those areas.

On Saturday, Beijing reported its first human H7N9 case of the year, a 68-year-old man from neighboring Hebei Province. A second human case was reported on Tuesday.

Ni Daxin, vice director of emergency center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that people should remain cautious about the bird flu as it is likely there would be more cases reported recently.

H7N9 is a bird flu strain first reported to have infected humans in China in March 2013. Infections usually occur in winter and spring.

According to the NHFPC data on Tuesday, 482,019 people in the Chinese mainland were infected with national notifiable diseases in January, including tuberculosis and cholera, and there were 1,121 deaths from infectious diseases.

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