Despite H7N9 Bird Flu Infection, Pregnant Chinese Woman Patient Gives Birth to Healthy Baby Girl

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | July 19, 2013 3:40 PM EST

A pregnant Chinese woman patient infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus has given birth to a healthy baby girl on Wednesday, despite being diagnosed with the deadly bug two months earlier.

The mother, identified as Qiu Yan, aged 25, was five months pregnant when she learned on April 8 she got infected with the fatal virus. She sought treatment on April 21 and was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit in Zhenjiang No. 1 People's Hospital.

Despite H7N9 Bird Flu Infection, Pregnant Chinese Woman Patient Gives Birth to Healthy Baby Girl

Then in a "very serious condition," she recovered sometime in May after spending five weeks in the hospital. Hospital personnel gave her antibiotic, antiviral and hormone treatments, along with daily X-rays, to ensure her health and recovery as well as the unborn child's safety inside her womb.

On Wednesday, Qiu underwent a cesarean delivery to give birth to the child. A healthy girl, the baby weighed in 3.3 kg. The Caesarean delivery happened in a hospital in Zhenjiang City in Jiangsu Province, according to state-run Xinhua news agency.

Originally intended for operation on July 26, doctors from the hospital's paediatric department said they noticed the fetal heart beat was accelerating and so decided to perform the operation on an earlier date.

However, doctors at the hospital said the mother's cardiopulmonary function still needs to fully recover.

"Her lung was severely infected and she needed a respirator to breathe because she was suffering from respiratory failure," the AFP quoted Qiu's doctor Sun Lizhou as saying.

Still, for Qiu and her baby daughter to have lasted this far "was a miracle," Sun said, noting they are the world's first pregnant woman and baby who have survived the ordeal.

According to the July 10 updates released by the National Health and Family Planning Commission, there have been a total of 132 H7N9 avian flu cases reported since the virus was first discovered in March. Forty-three people have died so far.

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