Few more cases and deaths due to new avian H7N9 virus in China

The total number of people infected with the new H7N9 bird flu virus in China has increased slowly over the past 2 months. Chinese authorities have now confirmed 18 positive cases. There have been 6 deaths. However, almost 400 personal contacts of these cases have all been tested and are being followed for any signs of illness. To date, none of the contacts have become ill or tested positive for the virus. This indicates that the virus is not easily transmitted (if at all) from person to person. Intense studies are underway to determine how these people became infected and to understand how this virus was generated. So far, the virus has been found in chickens and pigeons sold in live poultry markets. In Shanghai, these markets have been closed and all the birds destroyed.

The World Health Organization is closely monitoring the situation and has not issued any warnings for travellers.

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