ZHENGZHOU, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- A 36-year-old man has died after contracting H7N9 bird flu, according to health authorities in central China's Henan province on Saturday.
The man, identified only by the family name Zhang, died on Jan. 11, Henan provincial health and family planning commission said in a statement.
He is from the city of Yongcheng, but had worked in Zhejiang Province as a roast-duck vendor. On Dec. 25, he had fever and coughing. He returned to Yongcheng on Jan. 2 and went to see a doctor in Xuzhou City on Jan. 4.
Yongcheng city is closely monitoring the health conditions of 16 people who had close contact with the patient. None have shown any symptoms.
Also on Saturday, central China's Hubei Province reported its first H7N9 infection of the year. A 38-year-old male patient is in a critical condition. He had visited a poultry market before falling ill, the provincial health authority said.
H7N9, a bird flu strain, strikes in winter and spring. It was first reported in humans in China in March 2013.
New infections of bird flu have been reported in separate provinces. About a dozen have been reported since January began, in Jiangxi, Shandong, Hunan, Guangdong, Guizhou, Shanghai, Hubei and Macao.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that it was high season for infection of the H7N9 virus, and the possibility of more cases in southern China was not being ruled out.
The public should avoid contact with poultry and their waste, and purchase only certified poultry products, they advised.