April 18, 2013
A top health official in China says it is possible that a deadly new strain of bird flu could spread between humans, but cautioned there is no reason to fear a widespread pandemic.
Feng Zijian, a director at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, says human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 strain of bird flu is possible in theory, though highly sporadic.
China has reported 17 deaths since the virus was reported in humans for the first time last month. In total, 82 people have been infected, most of whom were near Shanghai.
Until now, the virus was believed to have only been transmitted from birds to humans, greatly limiting its ability to spread. But officials say 40 percent of those infected appear to have had no contact with poultry.
The World Health Organization confirmed the finding, but warned there is no evidence of “sustained human-to-human transmission.”
Of particular interest is a case involving an 87-year-old Chinese man who suffered China’s first human death from H7N9. One of his sons was confirmed to have contracted the virus, and recovered. Another son later died, though the cause of his death is unclear.
Continue reading at China: Human Transmission of Bird Flu is Possible.