An H7N9 patient in Zhejiang province was sick for weeks and died before authorities had diagnosed the virus, making effective treatment impossible, reports the People's Daily. The man consulted four doctors and was not diagnosed as having contracted what is now known to be the latest strain of avian flu. He was reportedly infected after preparing two chickens which were carrying the disease, even though he did not eat their meat.
Hong Ming worked as a cook in the Zhejiang city of Jiande. He bought two chickens on March 8 at a market near his work, preparing the dishes but not eating them himself. Hong developed diarrhea the next day, but both he and his wife did not consider that he had anything more than an upset stomach.
Hong's diarrhea persisted for two days however, and he became so weak that he could not go out to shop for groceries. He did not go to a doctor until he developed a high fever on March 15; he coughed up a large amount of blood four days later.
Though he ultimately went to four different doctors in the hope of curing his illness, the physicians all said the problem was with his liver, lungs or other organs. None diagnosed him with H7N9.
Hong died on March 27. A few staffers dispatched by the province's disease prevention and control center came to his family's house on April 1 and told his wife Qiu Jing that her husband had died of the new strain of bird flu. The staff left after spraying a sterilizing solution around their house.
At the time Qiu had never heard of the new type of flu, she said in an interview with China Newsweek.