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.
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

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs