BEIJING— Health officials say they still don’t understand how a lesser-known bird flu virus was able to kill two men and seriously sicken a woman in China, but that it’s unlikely that it can spread easily among humans.
Two men in Shanghai became the first known human fatalities from the H7N9 bird flu virus after contracting it in February. A woman in the eastern city of Chuzhou remains in serious condition, China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission said.
It was unclear how the three patients became infected, the health agency said. It sought to calm fears about the virus but provided few details about each case. Authorities have not described the patients’ occupations or said whether they had come into contact with birds or other animals.
The health authority noted, however, that two sons of one of the Shanghai men also suffered from acute pneumonia, one of whom died, and the source of their infection is still unknown. Other people who were in close contact with the victims have not become sick, indicating that the virus is not easily transmitted between humans.
“We don’t know yet the causes of illness in the two sons, but naturally, if three people in one family acquire severe pneumonia in a short period of time, it raises a lot of concern,” the World Health Organization’s China representative, Michael O’Leary, said at a briefing in Beijing late Monday.
Read More at OfficialWire . By Gillian Wong.
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