The death toll from the rare H7N9 strain of bird flu rose to four on Thursday with another patient working in the poultry industry succumbing to the fever in Shanghai in east China.
Hospitals have been put on high alert across the country and health authorities have stepped up
Keeping in mind the controversy surrounding the lack of transparency about the number of people infected in 2003 during the SARS scare, the country's health authorities have promised to share information on infections.
Officials on Thursday also assured that they will cooperate with the World Health Organisation (WHO)
Three more cases of the disease were reported from Shanghai, China's financial hub, Shanghai's municipal health and family planning commission said on Thursday.
According to the state-run Xinhua news ageny, the fourth person to die was identified as 48-year-old man surnamed Chu, native of Rugao in neighboring Jiangsu Province.
"The man was a poultry transporter. He developed symptoms of coughing on March 28. After having a fever on Monday, he went to a private clinic for treatment. The man then sought help in the Tongji Hospital in Shanghai in the early hours of Wednesday after his condition worsened. Chu died three hours after being admitted to the hospital. He was confirmed to have been infected with the H7N9 virus on Thursday," the Xinhua report said.
The report claimed that eight people who had close contact with him have shown no abnormal symptoms.
Reports said that so far, China has confirmed 11 H7N9 cases -- four in Jiangsu, three in Shanghai, one in Anhui and three in Zhejiang.
The report said that In Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province, which neighbours Zhejiang, five hospitals have been selected and ordered to be ready to treat H7N9 patients, though no cases have been reported there.
"South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has ordered an inventory on medical supplies and respirator deployment for potential H7N9 cases," the report added.
The report added that the sources of infection were not yet clear, but added that "…based on past experiences and recent epidemiological studies, the sources could be poultry or the secretion and excrement from poultry.""
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that no human-to-human transmission of H7N9 has been discovered and no epidemiological connection between these cases has been found.