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WHO Worried Bird Flu May Hit Chinese

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LONDON, Feb 10, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The World Health Organization has publicly raised the possibility humans may have caught bird flu in China, the Financial Times reported Tuesday.

Despite the absence of any reported cases so far, or data suggesting bird flu can go from person to person, the WHO is concerned bird flu may have infected Chinese people.

China's government has been providing WHO and the Food and Agricultural Organization with everything it knows about the spread of the disease in the country, WHO officials said.

"However, that may not be the same as knowing all that is happening across the country," said Dr. Hank Bekedam, the WHO representative in China.

Fourteen of China's 34 provinces and regions have confirmed or suspected cases of bird flu in poultry.

Meanwhile, a 27-year-old Vietnamese man is now known to have died from bird flu, the 19th confirmed human casualty of the disease in Asia's current outbreak.

Thai officials are investigating another 23 suspected cases, including nine deaths.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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