Bird flu spreads as Taiwan reports first human case

China Featured - April 25th, 2013

A man in Taiwan has been diagnosed with H7N9 bird flu, the first such case found outside mainland China, where the rare strain of avian flu virus has infected 108 people and killed 22.

The 53-year-old man, currently in serious condition, began feeling feverish three days after arriving in Taiwan via Shanghai from the Chinese city of Suzhou, Minister of Health Chiu Wen-ta said at a briefing in Taipei, reports Bloomberg.

The infected male “had not been exposed to birds and poultry” and “had not consumed undercooked poultry or eggs,” Taiwan’s Center for Disease Control said in a statement.

During the first 72 hours, the man came into contact with at least 139 people, including 110 hospital workers, the CDC also said.

The latest human case of H7N9 comes as experts are watching closely for signs that the disease can be transmitted from person to person after reports emerged that the virus has been found in some travelers who had been in China, the Financial Times reports.The World Health Organization, though, says no evidence has yet been recorded of H7N9 spreading from human to human.

Taiwan has raised its measures against the spread of the deadly virus. Hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese businesspeople and Chinese tourists travel back and forth across the strait each month.