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New Bird Flu Strain Spreads in China as Fourth Dies

Published: April 4, 2013 | 1:05 pm
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(CNA)-The new strain of bird flu that’s emerged in eastern China killed a fourth person, as the World Health Organization said drugs made by Roche Holding AG (ROG) and GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) are effective against the deadly virus, Bloomberg reports.
A person infected with the H7N9 strain of avian influenza died in Shanghai today, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported. The virus has infected at least 10 people, killing four of them since China’s health ministry reported the first cases last month.
There’s no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus, the agency said. The extent of the outbreak, the source of infection and the mode of transmission are being investigated, and it’s too early to tell whether the cases may signal a pandemic, according to the WHO.
“Until we know what the source of infection is, it’d be premature to say one way or the other,” Gregory Hartl, a WHO spokesman in Geneva, where the organization is based, said by phone yesterday. “We wouldn’t be dealing with a full deck.”
Two contacts of one infected person in Shanghai developed symptoms and one died, though no laboratory confirmation is available of what illness was involved, the WHO said yesterday in a statement.

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