There is no proof that the H7N9 bird flu virus is being transmitted between people in China, the World Health Organization said Monday, despite several members of a family falling ill in Shanghai.
China announced just over a week ago that the virus had been found in humans for the first time, and the number of confirmed cases has since risen to 21, with six deaths.
“Although we do not know the source of infection, at this time there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission,” Michael O’Leary, the WHO’s representative in China, told a news conference in Beijing.
Concerns over human transmission arose after the two sons of an elderly man in Shanghai, one of the earliest deaths from H7N9, developed respiratory illness, one of them dying, but the virus was later ruled out by Chinese authorities.
The WHO confirmed that government finding on Monday.
“The family cluster raises the possibility of human-to-human transmission, but two of the cases in that cluster have not been laboratory confirmed,” O’Leary said.
“There is no other evidence pointing toward sustained transmission among people,” he added.