Bird Flu Mutates in China

Posted on November 28, 2005

Bird flu appears to be mutating. The AFP reports that Chinese labs have found the H5N1 bird flu in China is different that the H5N1 strain in Vietnam.
In China's human cases, the virus has mutated "to a certain degree," health ministry spokesman Mao Qun'an was quoted as saying.

"But the mutation cannot cause human-to-human transmission of the avian flu," he noted.

China this month confirmed its first three human cases of bird flu, two of which were fatal. The disease has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003.

Health officials fear that the virus could mutate to the extent where it is easily transmitted from human-to-human, an event that could lead to a global pandemic capable of killing hundreds of millions of people.
Fortunately, China also says the virus has not acquired the ability to pass from human to human -- despite the mutations. China also recently denied accusations that it is covering up hundreds of bird flu deaths.

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