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China bird flu deaths reach 72 this year: Government

Published on Mar 10, 2014 2:00 PM
A vendor selling live poultry on a street in Shanghai on Jan 6, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

SHANGHAI (AFP) - A total of 72 people died from the H7N9 bird flu strain in China in the first two months of this year, government figures showed, far more than in the whole of 2013.

China reported 41 deaths and 99 cases of H7N9 avian influenza in February alone, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said in monthly figures for infectious disease, bringing the total cases this year to 226.

The Asian country recorded 46 deaths and 144 cases for 2013 in an outbreak which started early in the year and returned in the autumn.

Chinese officials and the World Health Organisation (WHO) say there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission but there have been "family clusters" - involving relatives in close contact apparently infecting each other - since the new strain appeared in people last year.

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