Study: New bird flu jumped directly from chickens

Chinese scientists have for the first time found strong evidence of how humans became infected with a new strain of bird flu: from chickens at a live market.

In this April 3, 2013 photo, chickens are seen at a chicken farm on the outskirts of Shanghai, China. After a new and lethal strain of bird flu emerged in Shanghai two weeks ago, the government of China's bustling financial capital responded with live updates on a Twitter-like microblog. It's a starkly different approach than a decade ago, when Chinese officials silenced reporting as a deadly pneumonia later known as SARS killed dozens in the south. (AP Photo/Gillian Wong)

LONDON (AP) — Chinese scientists have for the first time found strong evidence of how humans became infected with a new strain of bird flu: from chickens at a live market.

Chinese scientists compared swabs from birds at markets in eastern China to virus samples from four patients who caught the new H7N9 virus. The scientists found the virus from one patient was nearly identical to one found in a chicken. The research was published online Thursday in the journal Lancet.

Finding definitive proof of how patients were infected is very difficult and experts have so far struggled to find much virus in birds. Despite taking nearly 48,000 samples from animals in live markets, Chinese officials found only 39 positive tests for H7N9. Experts had suspected birds in live markets to be the source of infection but weren't sure if other animals or wild birds might also be responsible.

Health officials have so far refrained from recommending any wide-scale slaughter of poultry to contain the disease, one of the main tools used previously to combat another bird flu strain, H5N1. Unlike that strain, H7N9 doesn't appear to sicken chickens, giving experts fewer signs as to where it might be spreading.

Chinese authorities have shut down live poultry markets in many affected regions, which seems to have slowed down the virus. Still, Taiwan reported its first case earlier this week.

So far, H7N9 has infected more than 100 people in China and killed more than 20.
Associated Press
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to webmaster@wvlt-tv.com. Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus

WVLT VOLUNTEER TV

6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 204858271 - local8now.com/a?a=204858271
Gray Television, Inc.