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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Bird Flu Strain May Be Transmissible Between Humans

Health workers take a blood sample from a chicken in Hong Kong Thursday, April 11, 2013. The Hong Kong government started enhanced measures to prevent a new strain of bird flu from entering the city. Starting from Thursday, the authority is taking samples of live poultry from mainland China to test for the H7N9 virus. Thirty samples are taken in every 1,000 chickens. (Vincent Yu/AP)

Health workers take a blood sample from a chicken in Hong Kong testing for the H7N9 avian flu. Researchers today report the first probable human-to-human transmission of the virus. (Vincent Yu/AP)

new study in the British Medical Journal shows the first probable transmission between humans of a new strain of avian flu — the H7N9 virus.

A 32-year-old woman in China became sick and died after caring for her father who had the H7N9 virus. The father also died.

However, the authors of the study stress this does not mean the virus has evolved to be easily transmissible between humans.

Until now, people sickened by this particular strain of bird flu were in direct contact with poultry before contracting the virus. 

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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