Killer-flu update

Infection that recently developed in China shows signs of being easy to spread and hard to kill

By Janet Raloff, 13:22 PM May 29, 2013

Map showing provinces in eastern China where early cases of the new bird flu emerged in February through April 15, 2013. Credit: World Health Organization/ Western Pacific Regional Office

This spring, doctors in China began encountering patients with an unusually severe form of flu. So far, it has sickened at least 131 people, killing 36. That kill rate — more than 27 out of every 100 people known to be infected — is very high. New studies now offer more reason for concern.

The microbes appear able to spread through the air, something not all types of bird-flu germs can do. Even more worrying, the virus appears to be evolving an ability to ignore the drugs meant to kill it....

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