The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 22, 2013

China's bird flu outbreak cost $6.5 billion

For The Daily Item

GENEVA — (Reuters) - The H7N9 virus appears to have been brought under control in China largely due to restrictions at bird markets, but caused some $6.5 billion in losses to the economy, U.N. experts said on Tuesday.

Health authorities worldwide must be on the lookout to detect the virus, the experts said, which could still develop the ability to spread easily among humans and cause a deadly influenza pandemic.

The new bird flu virus is known to have infected 130 people in mainland China since emerging in March, including 36 who died, but no cases have been detected since early May, Health Minister Li Bin told a meeting of the World Health Organization. One case was found in Taiwan in April, making a total of 131.