China briefs WHO on new bird flu

Beijing, April 4 (IANS) China’s health authorities have promised transparency and cooperation to the World Health Organisation (WHO) over human infections from a new strain of bird flu.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission briefed officials from the WHO China office Wednesday on the latest developments in H7N9 avian influenza infections and the country’s counter-measures, according to a statement posted on the commission’s official website Thursday, reported Xinhua.

“China will maintain open and transparent exchanges with the WHO and other countries and regions, step up monitoring and adopt proper measures,” the statement said.

As of Wednesday, nine human infections of H7N9 avian influenza, including three deaths, had been confirmed in China. So far, all of the infections have been among people from provinces in east China and the Shanghai municipality.

The WHO said it appreciates China’s cooperation and offered technical support, the statement said.

The two sides agreed to jointly evaluate the situation and potential risks, it added.

Gregory Hartl, media officer for the WHO, said in Geneva Wednesday that given the current evidence, the risk of an epidemic is low.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that no human-to-human transmission of H7N9 has been discovered and no epidemiological connection between these cases has been found.

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