BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- China's National Health and Family Planning Commission said on Friday that a large-scale H7N9 epidemic is unlikely, following 28 cases reported nationwide this year.
"Current cases are scattered, and no mutation of the virus has been idntified so far that could affect public health," said a Friday statement from the commission.
The 28 cases of human infection of H7N9 so far were reported in east China's coastal regions of Shanghai, Zhejiang and Jiangsu as well as south China's Guizhou and Guangdong provinces.
Guangdong reported on Thursday two new cases of human H7N9, and another avian flu patient that died on Wednesday after treatment failed.
"The virus is still spreading from birds to human, and the chances of large-scale human H7N9 infection are slim," the statement said, citing experts.
However, the commission noted that cases will keep rising as the country's urban and rural fowl markets are scattered while the transporation and trade of poultry will become more frequent to meet the demand around the upcoming Spring Festival.
The commission urged local health departments to strengthen monitoring and step up treatment of patients while carrying out detailed prevention and control measures and timely risk evaluations.