BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Five more H7N9 bird flu cases were confirmed Sunday in four Chinese provinces, according to local health authorities.
The latest confirmed cases came from east China's Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Shandong provinces, as well as southeast China's Fujian Province.
A 38-year-old man surnamed Xu tested positive for the bird flu in Zhejiang's capital of Hangzhou, according to the provincial health department.
He exhibited flu symptoms on April 18 and is now hospitalized at the First Affiliated Hospital at Zhejiang University.
Six of the 46 cases reported in the province have resulted in death, while nine people have been discharged from the hospital after making a full recovery.
"Few of the newly confirmed patients are in critical condition," said Li Lanjuan, who is in charge of H7N9 treatment at the First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University
She said the epidemic is expected to come under control in Zhejiang due to the closure of live poultry markets and increasing temperatures.
An 80-year-old man surnamed Xiong and a 31-year-old woman surnamed Xu in Jiangxi Province tested positive for H7N9 bird flu on Sunday as well, according to the provincial health department.
Of the 19 people who had close contact with the two patients, none have shown any abnormal symptoms so far.
On Sunday afternoon, health authorities confirmed an H7N9 bird flu case in Fujian, marking the coastal province's second case. The patient, an 80-year-old man whose surname was given as You, is a farmer from Yangxia Township in Fuqing, a county-level city in Fujian's capital of Fuzhou.
You is in critical condition, according to a statement from the province's public health department.
The man developed a cough and fever before he sought treatment at a local hospital on Saturday, it said.
None of the 33 people who have had close contact with You have shown any symptoms so far.
The statement added that no epidemiological connection has been found between the two cases reported in Fujian.
In Shandong, experts confirmed an H7N9 bird flu case in the city of Zaozhuang on Sunday. The patient, a four-year-old boy surnamed Zhang, developed a fever on Saturday.
The boy is the son of Shandong's first confirmed H7N9 patient. But initial investigation found no evidence of human-to-human infection, according to a statement from the provincial public health department.
The statement said the boy is in stable condition.
Xu Jianguo, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Sunday that the chance of a major H7N9 outbreak is slim, although the situation must not be taken lightly and monitoring should be intensified.
"The biggest technical obstacle for prevention is that we don't know where the virus-carrying birds are or where they will go," Xu said, adding that the epidemic is not likely to disappear soon.
Xu said human infections are not related to seasonal changes.
He called for focusing on effective efforts to control sources of infection.