Scientists Worry Deadly New Flu Could Be Passed Between Humans

There is growing evidence that the H7N9 virus could be transmitted person-to-person, rather than just from bird-to-person. The virus has claimed 17 lives and infected 82 people so far.

Yesterday, the World Health Organization said that some people affected with the virus had no contact with poultry.

The Chinese government is conceding for the first time that the H7N9 could most likely be transmitted among family members, after a Shanghai family was struck with the outbreak. At least one of two brothers was found positive for the virus and the father in the family was the first H7N9 fatality. Another husband and wife pair in Shanghai also were affected.

Feng Zijian, director of the health emergency center of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that further investigation was necessary, but "human-to-human transmission, in theory, is possible, but is highly sporadic."

[QZ, image via Jasiek03/Shutterstock]