Panic is spreading across China as two new cases of the bird flu have popped up in the country, in what has become the second outbreak this year.
The two cases occurred in Guiyang, a city located in Southwest China. The affected were a 21-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man. Both are now in a hospital and are listed in critical condition.
“They are in critical condition and medical workers are carrying out emergency treatment. No epidemiological connections have been found between the two cases,” the Chinese health ministry said.
They began feeling ill on February 2 and February 3 and neither had direct contact with birds before catching the flu.
Many are fearful that this is the beginning of a bird flu outbreak in China.
“China is considered one of the nations most at risk from bird flu epidemics because it has the world’s biggest poultry population and many chickens in rural areas are kept close to humans.”
Just one month ago, a 19-year-old migrant worker died in Beijing after he contracted the bird flu.
The bird flu’s first major outbreak happened in 2003, and ever since, it has killed 365 people across the world. The illness is mostly spread between birds and humans, but scientists worry that it could mutate and spread person-to-person, much like the regular flu does.
At the same time the two cases occurred in China, the bird flu was discovered on a farm in Kathmandu.
Everyone who had close contact with the two Chinese people are under medical observation, but no one else has fallen ill so far.
Scientists have already created a version of the bird flu that is transmissible in mammals. According to the Washington Post, the study was so powerful that a federal panel asked that it not be published in full as it could inspire bioterrorists.
Though it is more contagious, scientists said it was less deadly than they expected. They gave the virus to a group of ferrets, and while they all caught the illness easily, none of them died.