Questions in China on how H7N9 flu strain killed 2

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Associated Press

Posted on April 1, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 1 at 12:04 PM

BEIJING (AP) — Health officials in China say they don't understand how a lesser-known type of bird flu was able to kill two men and make a woman seriously ill. But they say it's unlikely that it can spread easily among humans.

Two men in Shanghai became the first known human fatalities from that strain of bird flu virus -- called H7N9 -- after contracting it in February. Chinese officials say a woman in eastern China is in serious condition.

It's not clear how the three patients became infected. Authorities haven't described the occupations of the patients, or said whether they had come into contact with birds or other animals.

Two sons of one of the men also suffered from acute pneumonia, one of whom died. The source of the infection isn't known. Others who were in close contact with the victims have not become sick, indicating that the virus isn't easily transmitted between humans.

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GRAPHICSBANK: A dove rests on a tree near a Chinese flag, graphic element on gray (1 Apr 2013)

APPHOTO XAY210: World Health Organization's China representative Michael O'Leary attends a press conference in Beijing Monday, April 1, 2013. Health officials said they still don't understand how a lesser-known bird flu virus was able to kill two men and seriously sicken a woman in China, but that it's unlikely that it can spread easily among humans. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan) (1 Apr 2013)

<<APPHOTO XAY210 (04/01/13)>>

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