WHO says new bird strain is “one of most lethal” flu viruses
By Sui-Lee Wee and Kate Kelland
Apr 24 2013
BEIJING/LONDON (Reuters) – A new bird flu strain that has killed 22 people in China is “one of the most lethal” of its kind and transmits more easily to humans than another strain that has killed hundreds since 2003, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert said on Wednesday.
The H7N9 flu has infected 108 people in China since it was first detected in March, according to the Geneva-based WHO.
Although it is not clear exactly how people are being infected, experts say they see no evidence so far of the most worrisome scenario – sustained transmission between people.
An international team of scientists led by the WHO and the Chinese government conducted a five-day investigation in China, but said they were no closer to determining whether the virus might become transmissible between people.
“The situation remains complex and difficult and evolving,” said Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security.
“When we look at influenza viruses, this is an unusually dangerous virus for humans,” he said at a briefing.