News / Asia

China Confirms Five Dead from New Bird Flu Strain

A worker unloads a chicken from a container at a wholesale market on April 3, 2013, in Shanghai, China.
A worker unloads a chicken from a container at a wholesale market on April 3, 2013, in Shanghai, China.
VOA News
The death toll from the new strain of bird flu sickening people in eastern China has risen to five, the two latest deaths being reported in the commercial hub of Shanghai.

Chinese officials and state media confirmed the death Thursday of a 48-year-old man who transported poultry for a living.  The other victim was not identified.  

Chinese officials have now identified 14 cases of the H7N9 virus, which until recently had not been known to affect humans.  

Chinese medical experts say it is not clear how people are getting infected since the virus does not appear capable of being transmitted from person to person.  Authorities in Shanghai Thursday said they found the virus in a sample taken from a pigeon at a traditional market.

The new strain of bird flu has officials worried.

The World Health Organization's Timothy O'Leary:

"This is a very unique event," said O'Leary. "H7N9 had not been known previously to infect human beings. We'd seen it before only in birds. So for this virus suddenly to turn up in humans is a great cause for concern.''

The new strain of bird flu has officials worried. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is following the situation closely and is developing a vaccine as a precaution.

Concerns are also spreading across the region.  Authorities in Hong Kong have begun monitoring poultry farms and suspending the import of live birds from mainland China.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says airline passengers from China are being asked to report any influenza-like symptoms.

"I have told the Health Minister to take all possible measures in our response to this virus, bringing together every shred of available information and keeping the Japanese people informed of where it leads," said Suga.

Laurie Garrett with the U.S.-based Council for Foreign Relations says a big reason for concern is that so many key questions remain unanswered.

"We need to know how are these people getting infected," said Garrett. "Who are they getting it from? We need to know what's the denominator. How many people out there in China are infected right now with this virus harmlessly or with very mild illness? Third, we need to know what species did this come from. Did it come from birds? Did it come from dead pigs? Did it come from other animals of some kind? Until we have those three big questions answered, we have no capacity to speculate about the probability that this will become the next great pandemic.''

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid