BEIJING (AP) — Almost three weeks after China reported finding a new strain of bird flu in humans, experts are still stumped by how people are becoming infected when many appear to have had no recent contact with live fowl and the virus isn’t supposed to pass from person to person.
The uncertainty adds to challenges the Chinese government is facing in trying to control the spread of the H7N9 bird flu virus that has already killed 17 people and infected 70 others in the country, mostly along the eastern seaboard.
“To me, the biggest question is the link between the virus in birds and how it gets to humans. This is not clear,” said Dr. Bai Chunxue, a prominent respiratory expert in Shanghai who treated one of the first cases of the virus, a family cluster involving an 87-year-old man and his two sons. Bai said other family members he talked to said the patients had no contact with birds or poultry.