Taiwan Confirms 1st Bird Flu Case Outside China

As WHO says H7N9 more easily transmitted from bird to human than H5N1
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2013 12:15 PM CDT
This electron microscope image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the H7N9 virus which can take on a variety of shapes.    (AP Photo/CDC, C.S. Goldsmith, T. Rowe)
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(Newser) – Taiwan is confirming it has the first case of H7N9 bird flu outside of mainland China, reports the AFP. The 53-year-old male victim recently returned from a trip to China via Shanghai, where H7N9 first broke out. He's been hospitalized since April 16 in critical condition. The spread comes amid new reports that H7N9 is worse than its predecessor, H5N1, which has killed more than 360 worldwide over the past decade. The World Health Organization says H7N9 is more easily transmitted between birds and humans, the AP reports.

"This is definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses we have seen so far," says the WHO's top influenza expert. More than 100 people in China are now infected with the new strain. On the upside, 14 of those have been discharged from hospital and there is still no evidence that the disease can be transmitted from human to human, Reuters reports. In related news, the Chinese are suddenly eating significantly less KFC, with sales at Yum Brands fast-food outlets in China down 20% in the first quarter of 2013, CNNMoney reports. (Read more H7N9 bird flu stories.)

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