China toll rises to 13 from bird flu strain

2013-04-15T00:00:00Z China toll rises to 13 from bird flu strainThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 15, 2013 12:00 am  • 

BEIJING - Two more people have died in China from a new strain of bird flu, raising the death toll from the virus to 13, state media reported Sunday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the two deaths were reported in Shanghai and that three new cases were also confirmed in the financial hub. A total of 11 new cases were reported Sunday - including two in a central province that previously had been unaffected. In all, 60 cases of the virus, known as H7N9, have been reported in China.

The two cases reported Sunday in central Henan province, which is next to Beijing, followed an announcement Saturday that a 7-year-old girl had become the first person in the capital to be infected with the virus. All previous reported cases were in Shanghai and other eastern areas of China.

A World Health Organization official said Sunday that it wasn't surprising that the virus had spread to Beijing.

Michael O'Leary, head of WHO's office in China, said it's not the case that everyone confirmed to be infected with H7N9 was "clustered in one small area with the same source of exposure."

"So we've been expecting new cases to occur. ... Furthermore, we still expect that there will be other cases," he said.

Four new cases were reported Sunday in eastern Zhejiang province and two more in Jiangsu.

Health officials believe the virus, which was first spotted in humans last month, is spreading through direct contact with infected fowl.

O'Leary said "the good news" was that there was still no evidence that humans had passed on the virus to other humans.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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