BEIJING/BANGKOK, April 11 Another person died
from a new strain of bird flu in China on Thursday, state media
said, bringing to 10 the number of deaths from the H7N9 virus,
as a U.N. body said it was concerned the virus could spread
across borders in poultry.
The latest victim was in the commercial hub of Shanghai, the
official Xinhua news agency reported, where several of the 38
cases to date have been found. All of the cases so far have
been found in eastern China.
The exact source of infection remains unknown, though
samples have tested positive in some birds in poultry markets
that remain the focus of investigations by China and the U.N.'s
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Speaking in Bangkok, an FAO official said it was worried
about the spread of the virus outside of China.
"This particular region is land linked and so there is a
possibility that if, inadvertently or advertently, somebody
moves infected poultry across borders we can anticipate the
spread of this virus," said Subhash Morzaria, the FAO's Regional
Manager of the Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal
"We are proactively initiating surveillance programmes in
neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam which
border China and are at particular risk and we are trying to
understand how the poultry movement has taken place so we can
identify more accurately where the risk is going to be," said
The new virus is severe in most humans, leading to fears
that if it becomes easily transmissible, it could cause a deadly
influenza pandemic, though there has been no indication of that
"This new H7N9 virus hasn't been demonstrated to be
transmitted between humans, so from that context we think that
the H7N9 virus is not going to be a pandemic like H1N1 strains.
These are the early indications," Morzaria added.
There is no connection between the outbreak and the
thousands of dead pigs which have been found floating in
Shanghai rivers in recent weeks, he said.
"The report of the floating pigs in the river, there is
absolutely no relationship, it is completely not associated with
Still, the new virus has unsettled some in China.
Chinese authorities have detained a dozen people for
spreading rumours about the spread of bird flu.
Yum Brands Inc, the biggest foreign fast-food chain
operator in China, said the outbreak would have a "significant,
negative impact" on sales at KFC stores in China in April.