Death Toll From H7N9 In China Rises To 22
“An elderly man in eastern China died of bird flu on Tuesday, bringing the death toll from a strain that recently emerged in humans to 22, a provincial health agency reported,” according to Reuters (Jones, 4/23). The “new strain of bird flu that has killed 22 people in China is ‘one of the most lethal’ of its kind and is more easily transmissible to humans than an earlier strain that has killed hundreds around the world since 2003, a top [WHO] official has said,” Reuters/The Guardian reports (4/24). The new virus, H7N9, has infected more than 100 people in China, the Associated Press notes.
“Health experts are concerned about H7N9’s ability to jump to humans, and about the strain’s capacity to infect birds without causing noticeable symptoms, which makes it difficult to monitor its spread,” the news agency writes (Wong, 4/24). “An international team of scientists led by the WHO and the Chinese government conducted a five-day investigation in China, but said they were no closer to determining whether the virus might become transmissible between people,” Reuters writes in a separate article (Wee/Kelland, 4/24). “Since China announced on March 31 that the virus had been discovered in humans for the first time, most cases have been confined to the commercial hub Shanghai and three nearby provinces, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui,” Agence France-Presse notes (4/23).