News / Asia

WHO: No Proof of Bird Flu Transmission to Humans in China

Chickens sit inside cages after a New Taipei City Department of Environmental Protection worker sprayed sterilizing anti-H7N9 virus disinfectant around chicken stalls on April 8, 2013.
Chickens sit inside cages after a New Taipei City Department of Environmental Protection worker sprayed sterilizing anti-H7N9 virus disinfectant around chicken stalls on April 8, 2013.
William Ide
The World Health Organization’s top representative in China said there are no signs that a new bird flu virus that has already left seven dead here is being transmitted between people and adddes there is no reason for panic.
 
Most of the deaths and confirmed infections from a total of 24 confirmed cases of H7N9 in China have occurred in the country’s massive eastern city Shanghai. While most of the infections have been traced back to the handling of infected birds, one of the first reported cases is raising greater concern. Two sons of a man who died from H7N9 later developed respiratory illness.
 
One of the sons died, but Chinese authorities now say bird flu was not the cause of his death.
 
Michael O'Leary, the WHO's representative in China, said while several members of the family fell ill, there is no evidence at this time that the disease can be passed from one human to another.
 
"So far, we really only have sporadic cases of a rare disease, and perhaps it will remain that way," he said. "So this is not a time for over-reaction or panic or that sort of thing. These are a relatively small number of serious cases with personal health, medical implications but not at this stage known public health implications.”
 
O’Leary said there is still much to be learned about the virus and that because it is new, there is no way to predict the pattern it will follow.
 
"Now that the virus is identified, laboratories can now look for it specifically," he added. "So we would expect that in neighboring countries as well and other places if there are serious unexplained cases of influenza, they would now begin to look for this virus and we would see. But we know so far still that is limited to only a small number of provinces even in China. We don't know of other cases elsewhere.”
 
O’Leary was speaking at a news conference in Beijing on Monday, along with the head of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission. He praised China’s efforts to mobilize resources to monitor several hundred people who have come into contact with those who were infected.
 
Although some of the first deaths from the disease happened early last month, it took authorities in China three weeks to determine the new bird flu was the source of the illness. That has led some newspapers and Chinese Internet users to openly wonder about the cause for the delay and to express concerns about a cover-up. The Chinese government says the delay was the result of the time it took to understand the new virus.

In 2002, Chinese authorities initially tried to cover-up the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which emerged in China. The disease eventually spread across the the globe leaving more than 800 people dead.
 
Concerns that Asia could see another epidemic similar to SARS weighed on markets across the region Monday, with most closing lower.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs