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In Brief

63 Cases, 14 Deaths from New Bird Flu

chickens, bird flu
(Image credit: <a href=''>Chickens</a> via Shutterstock)

Health officials now know of 63 people who've fallen ill with a new strain of bird flu in China, 14 of whom died, according to the World Health Organization. The three most recent cases were men and women in their 60s living in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui Province, all close to China's east coast, WHO says.

The new strain, H7N9, is concerning because it has never before been seen in people, and so the general population presumably does not have immunity to it. So far, the virus does not appear to readily pass from person to person. WHO is monitoring more than 1,000 close contacts of those who fell ill and investigating the case of two contacts who developed flu symptoms. No vaccine is available, but recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it had started work on a vaccine in case it's needed. Health officials are still investigating the source of the flu infections.

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Rachael Rettner
Rachael Rettner

Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.