April 24, 2013 00:00 By Deutsche Presse-Agentur Taipe
The first case of a deadly strain of bird flu recently discovered in humans has been found in Taiwan, the island's Department of Health said Wednesday. It is the first infection to be discovered outside mainland China.
The patient who tested positive for the H7N9 strain of avian influenza was a 53-year-old man who went on a two-week business trip to China's eastern coastal province of Jiangsu.
The man returned to Taiwan April 9 and began experiencing flu-like symptoms three days later. He reported to hospital April 16, andlater tests revealed his infection.
Mainland China's H7N9 outbreak, which was first discovered in March, has spread to seven provinces, infected 108 people and killed 22, according to the World Health Organization.
This month, Taiwan health authorities implemented mandatory checks for passengers coming into Taiwan with fevers and recommended that anyone who becomes ill after a trip to China should notify authorities for health care and quarantine.
They said they had tested 128 people for possible H7N9 infections since April 3 but only found their first positive result Wednesday.
Links between mainland China and Taiwan have increased since Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou implemented a policy of rapprochement towards Beijing in 2008.
Direct flights between China and Taiwan have since increased to 616 per week.