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New Bird Flu Strain Related To Older Strains; Number Of H7N9 Cases Rising

News outlets report on several strains of avian influenza, including a study published in The Lancet showing a recently identified strain is related to two older flu strains.

Al Jazeera: Fatal new bird flu strain worries scientists
“A new strain of the bird flu virus has proven fatal for the first time after it jumped from birds to humans and is worrying scientists. The latest strain, previously unknown in humans, called H10N8, killed a 73-year-old Chinese woman in December and Chinese authorities last week confirmed a second human case of the new strain of a second woman, who remains critically ill in a hospital…” (2/5).

BBC News: New bird flu: How bad is H10N8?
“…So far there have been two people in China infected and one of them has died. As yet, there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted from person to person. This means the risk of rapid spread is still low. But we could see more human cases of H10N8, particularly among people who have close contact to poultry carrying the infection…” (Roberts, 2/4).

Bloomberg Businessweek: Deadly New Bird Flu Strain Spawned by Same Virus That Gave H5N1
“The new bird flu that’s infected two people in China, killing one, was spawned by the same pathogen that produced two other deadly flu strains, a study found. The H10N8 strain, which hasn’t previously been reported in humans, contains six out of eight genes from the H9N2 virus that also provided the genetic foundation for the H5N1 virus that’s killed 386 people since 2003, and the H7N9 strain that led to at least 70 fatalities, Chinese researchers wrote in The Lancet medical journal today…” (Bennett, 2/4).

New York Times: Cases of New Deadly Bird Flu Surge in China, Experts Say
“Cases of the new H7N9 avian influenza in China are surging alarmingly, flu experts warned this week. There are now about 300 confirmed cases, with more appearing every day. Roughly a quarter of the victims have died. … At the same time, an even newer avian flu in China has killed its first human victim…” (McNeil, 2/4).

Reuters: New China Bird Flu a Reminder of Mutant Virus Risk
“The death of a woman in China from a strain of bird flu previously unknown in humans is a reminder of the ever-present potential pandemic threat from mutating animal viruses, scientists said on Wednesday…” (Kelland, 2/4).

Wall Street Journal “China Real Time”: Scientists Warn on Another Bird-Flu Strain
“Even as authorities cautiously watch one strain of avian flu making its way through China, scientists are warning that another can now infect humans and requires close scrutiny…” (Tejada, 2/5).

Xinhua: No proof of human-to-human H7N9 transmission: health authority
“Chinese health authorities on Wednesday reassured that no proof has been found of the H7N9 virus spreading from human to human. Most human cases of H7N9 infection have been isolated so far, said a statement from the National Health and Family Planning Commission…” (2/5).