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New bird flu strain may be capable of spreading from human to human: Study

Published on May 24, 2013 7:46 PM
 
A man weighs a chicken in a poultry market in Hong Kong on May 24, 2013. According to local reports, the H7N9 bird flu virus can be transmitted not only through close contact but by airborne exposure, a team at the University of Hong Kong found after extensive laboratory experiments. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - The H7N9 bird flu virus may be capable of spreading from human to human and can be transmitted not only through direct contact but also through airborne exposure, researchers at the University of Hong Kong have found.

The researchers found in a study, presented at a news briefing on Friday, that three ferrets - the main animal used for research into human influenza - that were placed in close contact with ferrets injected with H7N9 contracted the virus.

One out of three that were kept in different cages became infected through airborne exposure.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has previously said it has no evidence of "sustained human to human transmission" of the virus, which has killed 36 people in China.

 
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