WHO says no poultry contact in some China bird flu cases
GENEVA/BEIJING (REUTERS) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday that a number of people who have tested positive for a new strain of bird flu in China have had no history of contact with poultry, adding to the mystery about the virus that has killed 16 people to date.
WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl confirmed that "there are people who have no history of contact with poultry", after a top Chinese scientist was quoted as saying that about 40 per cent of those with the H7N9 virus had had no contact with fowl.
"This is one of the puzzles still (to) be solved and therefore argues for a wide investigation net," Mr Hartl said in emailed comments, though he added he did not know the exact percentage.
China has warned that the number of infections could rise from the current 77. The latest victims are from the commercial capital of Shanghai, where the majority of the cases have been found, the official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.