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New Bird Flu Virus Kills 2 in China, Sparking WHO Probe

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Simeon Bennett
Bloomberg News
April 2, 2013

A new strain of bird flu sickened four people and killed two in eastern China, prompting the World Health Organization to investigate whether the virus has the potential to spread easily among people.

The H7N9 strain of avian influenza struck two people in Shanghai, one in Anhui province, and a fourth in the city of Nanjing, according to the Geneva-based WHO and China Central Television. Two of the people died and a third is in critical condition, the United Nations health agency said in a statement yesterday.

No link between the cases has been identified, and no further infections have been found among 88 contacts of the first three patients, the WHO said, suggesting the virus isn’t easily transmissible between people. The fourth case is a 45- year-old woman who slaughters poultry at a local farmers’ market, CCTV reported on its website today.

“This is of concern,” Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman, said by phone today. “These are the first cases we’ve seen in human beings. We’re watching this very closely.”

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This article was posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 4:18 am

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