Chinese officials are now reporting two new cases of people infected with a rare strain of bird flu. Those reports take the number of infected H7N9 sufferers to 60.
State media on Sunday night reported that two people in Shanghai have died from the rare flu strain. To date, 13 deaths have been linked to H7N9.
Twenty-four of the 60 bird flu infections have been reported in Shanghai. The increasing problem mounted on Saturday when three men were diagnosed with the flu.
Health officials have also revealed that the bird flu has spread behind eastern China for the first time with two cases reported in the central Henan Province. In another case, a child was reported to have H7N9 in Beijing.
Until last month, the H7N9 bird flu strain was not known to infect humans. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), people are being infected with a new variation of the flu. The organization on Saturday revealed:
“Investigations into the possible sources of infection and reservoirs of the virus are ongoing. Until the source of infection has been identified, it is expected that there will be further cases of human infection with the virus in China.”
The World Health Organization says there is no evidence that the new bird flu infections are jumping from human-to-human.
China’s health ministry is now working with WHO to determine if the country’s poorly regulated poultry markets are to blame for the bird flu infections. Several cities in eastern China have suspended poultry trading over fears of contamination.
Researchers believe H7N9 likely arrived by way of migratory birds from East Asia. The flu likely mixed with fowl around Shanghai and then spread from there.
The New England Journal of Medicine notes that the new H7N9 strain of the bird flu appears to be a really good fit for infecting humans.
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