New Bird Flu Strain Kills 38% of Those It Infects

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British scientists have identified a new strain of bird flu that kills 38 percent of those it infects as the most likely candidate to spark a new worldwide flu pandemic. Prof. Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England with special responsibility for pandemic planning, told the Daily Telegraph that H7N9, a flu virus circulating in poultry in China could be “the cause of the next pandemic.” Some 1,625 people in China are known to have been infected with the H7N9 virus, 623 of whom have died. Most of those infected have been been in close contact with poultry; currently, the disease cannot spread from human to human, but experiments have shown it is just three mutations away from being able to do so.

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