China reports 27th death from H7N9 bird flu

Agence France-Presse
(UPDATE) The death toll from the H7N9 bird flu virus has risen to 27, state media said Thursday

FLU TESTING. This picture taken on April 3, 2013 shows Chinese health workers preparing an H7N9 virus detection kit at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Beijing. AFP PHOTO

BEIJING, China (UPDATE) – A man in central China has died from the H7N9 flu virus, state media said Thursday, May 2, bringing the toll from a new outbreak to to 27.

The 55-year-old whose surname was given as Jiao died on Wednesday in Hunan province after receiving medical treatment, state news agency Xinhua said, citing local authorities.

Xinhua earlier Thursday reported that 26 people had died from the virus, indicating two more deaths from previous reported tallies.

More than 120 people have been diagnosed with the virus since it was first reported in late March, with most cases confined to eastern China.

The only one reported outside the mainland has been in Taiwan, although that victim was infected in China.

Experts fear the possibility of the virus mutating into a form easily transmissible between humans, with the potential to trigger a pandemic.

The World Health Organization has said so far there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission but warned H7N9 is “one of the most lethal” influenza viruses ever seen.

Chinese health officials have acknowledged so-called “family clusters”, where members of a single family have become infected, but have not established any confirmed instances of human-to-human transmission.

Most of the cases reported have not yet resulted in death, and some patients have been discharged from hospital after apparently recovering. –

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