China reports three new bird flu deaths, toll hits 35

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Three more people have died in China from the new strain of H7N9 bird flu virus, raising the death toll to 35 while the total number of infections rose to 130, state media said on Monday.

Without giving details of the deaths, Xinhua news agency said a new case of the H7N9, described by the World Health Organisation as one of the most lethal flu viruses around, was found in China's east Jiangxi province.

There has so far been no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus, a point reiterated by Xinhua on Monday, citing health authorities. It noted that 57 of those infected have recovered.

Chinese scientists say the virus has been transmitted to humans from chickens, though the WHO says 40 per cent of people infected with H7N9 had no contact with poultry.

Since it was first detected in March, the H7N9 virus has raised alarm and pummelled Chinese demand for poultry as well as prices for livestock.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has said the current strain of bird flu cannot start a pandemic but notes there is no guarantee it will not mutate and cause a serious pandemic.

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