China bird-flu toll rises to 17

China bird-flu toll rises to 17Beijing, April 18 - Two more people died Wednesday from a new strain of bird flu detected last month in eastern China, bringing to 16 the number of fatalities from the illness, authorities said.

The infection has been found in 77 people, according to the latest bulletin from the National Commission on Health and Family Planning, which said authorities have seen no signs of person-to-person transmission of the virus.

Fourteen new cases were confirmed Tuesday, the largest one-day total since the outbreak began in early March, and eight of those patients are in critical condition, officials said.

Shanghai and the neighbouring provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang account for all but six of the confirmed cases.

Many of the infected people had direct contact with birds and authorities have closed live-bird and poultry markets in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and nearly 500 rural communities.

So far, a four-year-old boy in Shanghai is the only infected person to have made a full recovery. (IANS)