Three epidemic waves of human influenza A(H7N9) were documented in several different provinces in China between 2013 and 2015. With limited understanding of the potential for human-to-human transmission, it was difficult to implement control measures efficiently or to inform the public adequately about the application of interventions. In this study, the human-to-human transmission rate for the epidemics that occurred between 2013 and 2015 in Zhejiang Province, China, was analysed. The reproduction number (R), a key indicator of transmission intensity, was estimated by fitting the number of infections from poultry to humans and from humans to humans into a mathematical model. The posterior mean R for human-to-human transmission was estimated to be 0·27, with a 95% credible interval of 0·14–0·44 for the first wave, whereas the posterior mean Rs decreased to 0·15 in the second and third waves. Overall, these estimates indicate that a human H7N9 pandemic is unlikely to occur in Zhejiang. The reductions in the viral transmissibility and the number of poultry-transmitted infections after the first epidemic may be attributable to the various intervention measures taken, including changes in the extent of closures of live poultry markets.