Bird flu strain in China 'passed between humans'
Date published: 07th August 2013
By 30 June there had been 133 cases of H7N9 bird flu reported in eastern China and 43 deaths.
Most people had visited live poultry markets or had close contact with live poultry in the week or two before they became ill.
Yet researchers found that the 32-year-old woman had become infected in March after caring for her 60-year-old father in hospital.
Unlike her father - who had visited a poultry market in the week before falling ill - she had no known exposure to live poultry but fell ill six days after her last contact with him.
Both died in intensive care of multiple organ failure.
Tests on the virus taken from both patients showed the strains were almost genetically identical, which supports the theory that the daughter was infected directly from her father rather than another source.
Public health officials tested 43 close contacts of the patients but all tested negative for H7N9, suggesting the ability of the virus to spread was limited.
The researchers said that while there was no evidence to suggest the virus had gained the ability to spread from person to person efficiently, this was the first case of a "probable transmission" from human to human.
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