‘Two new bird flu cases’ in China
There have been two new cases of H7N9 “bird flu” in China’s Henan province, giving a national total of 51, China’s state news agency says.
Officials say 11 people have so far died after contracting the new strain of the virus.
The latest cases come a day after a seven-year-old girl was taken ill with the virus in the capital, Beijing.
There are no reported cases outside the country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Nineteen people who had close contact with the two new victims in Henan had shown no signs of infection, China’s state news agency Xinhua said.
The first cases of the virus were reported in February, in eastern China.
There have now been three cases outside the area where the initial cases were reported.
However, WHO representative Michael O’Leary told reporters in Beijing that the new cases were not surprising.
“It’s a little bit farther scattered than the original cases were, but they were scattered as well, and there’s nothing else different in the overall situation to change our perspective,” he said.
According to the WHO, there is no evidence that the H7N9 virus is being transmitted between people, and most cases come from poultry.
International health experts have commended China on its transparency in reporting the spread of the virus, in sharp contrast to its handling of a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003, when 8,096 people were infected worldwide and 744 died.