An international dream team of flu experts assembled in China today.
Underscoring the urgency that public health agencies feel about the emergence of a new kind of bird flu, the team is headed by Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization's top influenza scientist.
Before he left Geneva, Fukuda explained the wide-open nature of the investigation in an interview with NPR.
Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 1:19 pm
By Michaeleen Doucleff
A vendor weighs a live chicken at the Kowloon City Market in Hong Kong Friday. Health authorities there have stepped up the testing of live poultry from China to include a rapid test for the H7N9 bird virus.
Credit Lam Yik Fei / Getty Images
The new bird flu in China has come with a long list of questions.
Are the 82 cases reported so far just the tip of a larger outbreak? Why does the virus cause mild symptoms in some people and severe pneumonia in others?
Perhaps the most critical question is also the simplest: How do people catch the bug?
The H7N9 virus clearly infects birds. Health workers have detected it in chickens, ducks and pigeons.
People sit near pigeons at a park in Shanghai Sunday. A new strain of bird flu has spread from eastern China to other provinces, with 13 deaths reported.
Health officials in China say they've confirmed 11 new bird flu diagnoses, bringing the number of H7N9 infections to 60, with cases spread across several provinces, the official Xinhua news agency reports. The virus, which first infected people in Shanghai and eastern China, has now sickened at least one person in Beijing, along with two others in the central province of Henan.