By Katie Nelson
This is all Goop’s fault, probably (Contagion, 2010).
A man in Zhejiang died of the H7N9 avian flu on Tuesday, bringing the death count to a total of 22. So far the virus has infected up to 108 people, and authorities have yet to confirm whether or not the strain is being passed through human-to-human contact.
According to the South China Morning Post:
The 86-year-old man died after having been diagnosed with the H7N9 virus on April 17, the Zhejiang Health Bureau said on its website.
Two others in Zhejiang have been diagnosed with the disease, including an 84-year-old man and a 62-year-old man, both of Hangzhou who fell ill on April 15, the health bureau said.
In neighbouring Anhui province, another case was diagnosed on Tuesday, a 91-year-old man, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
In many cases, carriers of the H7N9 bird flu have succumb to the virus within only a week or two after being diagnosed.
Experts have yet to confirm if human transmission of the virus is possible, after finding that an estimated 40 percent of patients had not been in contact with live poultry.
“Investigations into the possible sources of infection and reservoirs of the virus are ongoing,” the World Health Organisation said on Monday. “Until the source of infection has been identified, it is expected that there will be further cases of human infection with the virus in China.”
As the virus rapidly spreads across China, experts are racing to find a vaccine for the strain.
So far the outbreak has been contained to mainly eastern China, including Shanghai, Jiangsu province, Zhejiang province, and Anhui province. One person in Beijing and three people in central provinces have also been confirmed as contracting the virus.
Poultry markets have shut down, thousands of birds have been slaughtered and the government has suspended the sales of wild birds as an attempt to halt the spread of the virus and ease public concerns.
However, Dr Michael O’Leary, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Beijing told reporters that mass recall of poultry may be unnecessary.
“I eat chicken every day,” O’Leary said with a laugh. “Chicken is of no concern at all.”