China reports latest bird flu death, toll rises to 27

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BEIJING (Reuters) – A 55-year-old man in central China has died from a new strain of bird flu, bringing to 27 the number of deaths from the mysterious H7N9 virus, state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.

The H7N9 virus, which has infected 127 people in China, is a threat to world health and should be taken seriously, scientists said on Wednesday.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) has described it as “one of the most lethal” flu viruses but said there is as yet no evidence of human-to-human transmission of this virus.

The latest victim, a native of southeastern Jiangxi province surnamed Jiao, died in Hunan province, Xinhua said. The man sold braised pork and was diagnosed with the H7N9 virus on April 26, the Hunan Health Bureau said on its website.

A 69-year-old farmer, also from Hunan, was the latest person to be infected with the virus, state media said.

So far, 26 people have recovered after contracting the virus, according to Xinhua.

Chinese scientists have confirmed for the first time that the H7N9 strain has been transmitted to humans from chickens.

Last week a man in Taiwan became the first case of the flu outside mainland China. He caught the flu while traveling in China.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee- Editing by Michael Perry)

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