MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - The Chinese authorities have confirmed 77 registered cases of H7N9 avian influenza among people, including 16 cases that proved fatal, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.
According to the agency, a total of 30 cases of a new strain of bird flu, including 11 deaths, have been registered in Shanghai alone. Other cases were reported in Jiangsu Province, Zhejiang Province and Beijing.
Chinese health authorities have so far treated the infections as isolated cases and ruled out human-to-human transmission.
However, a fresh report by a team of Chinese experts, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicates that H7N9 causes unusually severe respiratory infection, sepsis and brain damage, and appears to be resistant to vaccination and treatment.
Experts also believe that the new virus has a high potential to cause a pandemic.
China has already taken various steps to curb the spread of H7N9 infections, including suspension of live poultry trade in affected areas, slaughter and incineration of poultry, and public awareness campaigns.