Bird Flu Death Toll Rises to Nine
As Chinese police arrest ten for rumors
Two more patients died of bird flu in China this week, bringing the outbreak’s death toll to nine, as officials announced they had traced the source of the virus to chickens and wild birds from around eastern Asia. The China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday that a vaccine for the virus behind the disease, H7N9, was in development, and would be available in the first half of this year.
The strain of bird flu responsible for the current epidemic was first discovered in humans last month, and has infected a total of 33 people in China.
While doctors and scientists abroad have widely praised the Chinese government’s response to the outbreak, many observers within the country have expressed suspicion that officials are holding back some information on the bird flu virus; some point to the Chinese government’s actions during the 2002 SARS outbreak, which it originally tried to hide. On Wednesday, Chinese state media announced that police had detained 10 people for allegedly spreading rumors about the virus on social media.