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China Reports More Bird Flu Deaths

A woman wears a face mask as she walks past a poster showing how to avoid the H7N9 avian influenza virus, by a road in Beijing, April 24, 2013.
The new strain of bird flu hitting China has claimed its 27th victim.

Chinese state media Thursday reported the deadly H7N9 virus killed a 55-year-old man in central, Hunan province. Officials say he died despite receiving medical treatment.

So far, more than 120 people have contracted the new strain of bird flu, most of them in eastern China. One man in Taiwan has also been diagnosed with the virus, though officials believe he contracted the bird flu while traveling in China.

The World Health Organization called the H7N9 strain "one of the most lethal" flu viruses ever seen. Unlike other flu viruses that cause upper respiratory problems like coughing and congestion, the new virus attacks the lower part of the lungs, causing high fevers and pneumonia.

Chinese researchers last week confirmed suspicions that bird flu virus crossed from birds to humans at live markets where chickens and other poultry are slaughtered and sold.

The researchers suggested "aggressive interventions" including suspension of live bird markets and culling of infected flocks could help slow or stop the further spread of the virus.