Health officials in Guangdong province reported today that a respiratory sample from a 51-year-old woman is positive for the new H7N9 flu virus and has been forwarded to the national lab for confirmation.
The woman is a poultry worker from Huizhou and has a history of exposure to live poultry, according to a statement today from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP).
Investigations into China's H7N9 outbreak haven't definitively pinned down the source of the virus, but strong indications so far point to live poultry.
If the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirms her infection, her case will be the 135th in the H7N9 outbreak. All but one of the cases is from China, with one involving a man from Taiwan who had traveled for work to China's outbreak area. So far 43 H7N9 deaths have been reported.
Though H7N9 has been detected at poultry markets in Guangdong province, the case, if confirmed, would be the first human H7N9 illness to be detected there.
A translated report from Guangdong's Center for Disease Control and Prevention that appeared on the FluTrackers infectious disease message board said the woman's infection was found during routine hospital monitoring.
The woman is hospitalized in critical condition, according to a report today from Xinhua, China's state news agency.
So far monitoring of 36 of the woman's close contacts has found no other H7N9 infections.
Today's report is the first new H7N9 case to be reported from China since Jul 20, when the country announced an infection in a 61-year-old woman from Hebei province.
The number of new cases tailed off in the middle of May, and flu experts aren't sure if the virus has died out, if control measures are keeping human cases at bay, or if a new wave of infections will surface in the fall when temperatures cool, a pattern seen for some other flu viruses.
Aug 9 CHP statement
Aug 9 FluTrackers thread
Aug 9 Xinhua story