16 Dead Of H7N9 In China As Authorities Realize You Can Get Disease Without Exposure To Poultry

China has confirmed 14 new cases of H7N9 bird flu, bringing the total to 77, according to Xinhua, with 16 reported deaths.

The virus keeps getting more evolved, too. (Or something?) Beijing’s second case of H7N9 was a carrier who displayed no symptoms: this boy of four years old. The latest, via Reuters, is equally disturbing, if you’re the type who’s disturbed by such things:

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 percent 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,” Hartl said in emailed comments, though he added he did not know the exact percentage.

Also, if this matters at all, five new cases of bird flu were “diagnosed retrospectively.”

There are many more than 77 cases of bird flu, in other words. It’s not enough to start avoiding fresh air and chicken altogether, but as Xinhua says, “The H7N9 cases may keep increasing until the pollution sources are under effective control.”

Still no human-to-human transmission yet.

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