China bird flu strikes new province

AFP-JIJI, AP

China said Tuesday that the H7N9 bird flu had spread to a new area as it confirmed the first case in the eastern province of Shandong in an outbreak that has so far killed 22 people.

Since China announced on March 31 that the virus had been discovered in humans for the first time, most cases have been confined to the commercial hub of Shanghai and three nearby provinces. Beijing and the central province of Henan have also reported cases.

The Health Ministry said Tuesday that a 36-year-old man living in Shandong’s city of Zaozhuang was confirmed to have the virus.

That case and three other new ones bring the total number of confirmed infections to 108, according to official figures.

Meanwhile, World Health Organization officials said Wednesday that the new strain of avian flu appears to jump more easily from birds to humans than the H7N9 virus that killing 360 people worldwide since 2003.