Bird Flu Spreads to Beijing

It was expected to, says WHO chief; still no human-to-human transmissions

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 14, 2013 6:31 AM CDT

(Newser) – Beijing has reported its first case of the H7N9 bird flu, as two new cases in a neighboring province were confirmed today, marking the official spread of the virus from the country's east. But the development was anticipated, says the head of the WHO office in Beijing. "We've been expecting new cases to occur," Michael O'Leary tells the AP. "Furthermore, we still expect that there will be other cases."

O'Leary says the outbreak continues to hold "good news:" "All the cases are individually infected in a sporadic and not connected way," he says, meaning humans are not passing the virus onto other humans. The Beijing victim is a 7-year-old girl whose parents trade in live poultry; she is in stable condition after being admitted to the hospital on Thursday. O'Leary emphasizes that her case shows the efficacy of early treatment. So far, 57 cases of H7N9 have been reported in China; 11 of those have resulted in fatalities.

A nurse works at a specialized fever clinic inside the Ditan Hospital, where a Chinese girl is being treated for the H7N9 strain of bird flu, in Beijing Sunday, April 14, 2013.
A nurse works at a specialized fever clinic inside the Ditan Hospital, where a Chinese girl is being treated for the H7N9 strain of bird flu, in Beijing Sunday, April 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
The head of the World Health Organization’s office in China, Michael O' Leary, speaks to journalists outside the WHO office in Beijing, Sunday, April 14, 2013.
The head of the World Health Organization’s office in China, Michael O' Leary, speaks to journalists outside the WHO office in Beijing, Sunday, April 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A Chinese family wears face masks near a specialized clinic inside Ditan Hospital, where a girl is being treated for the H7N9 strain of bird flu, in Beijing, Sunday, April 14, 2013.
A Chinese family wears face masks near a specialized clinic inside Ditan Hospital, where a girl is being treated for the H7N9 strain of bird flu, in Beijing, Sunday, April 14, 2013.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Chickens are hung in line at a slaughterhouse, after live poultry trading was banned following the H7N9 bird flu outbreak, in Pudong, Shanghai, Friday, April 12, 2013.
Chickens are hung in line at a slaughterhouse, after live poultry trading was banned following the H7N9 bird flu outbreak, in Pudong, Shanghai, Friday, April 12, 2013.   (AP Photo)
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