The bird flu has been discovered in two new cases in China in what has become the second outbreak in that country this year.
The cases were discovered in Guiyang, located in Southwest China. There a 21-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man tested positive for the H1N1 bird flu virus over the weekend, the Global Post reported. Both were taken in to a hospital for treatment and were listed in critical condition.
"They are in critical condition and medical workers are carrying out emergency treatment. No epidemiological connections have been found between the two cases," the Chinese health ministry stated (via Xinhua).
The two began developing symptoms on February 2 and February 3, and investigators believe neither had direct contact with birds before falling ill.
The new bird flu cases have sparked fears of an outbreak in China. From Reuters:
"China is considered one of the nations most at risk from bird flu epidemics because it has the world's biggest poultry population and many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans."
Since the first major outbreak in 2003, bird flu has been responsible for 365 deaths across the world, the World Health Organization noted. It is most commonly spread through direct contact between birds and humans, but health experts worry that it could mutate to spread by person-to-person contact.
While the cases in China were found, bird flu was also discovered at a farm in Kathmandu, the Himalayan Times noted.