On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said that an outbreak of bird flu in China had killed 22 people.
The virus, dubbed H7N9, is thought to pass even more easily between people and chickens than the bird flu that killed 332 people more than half a decade ago. One WHO officials called H7N9, “one of the most lethal influenza viruses we have seen so far,” CNN noted.
Researchers noted that new cases in Shanghai dipped significantly after the city’s live poultry market was closed earlier this month.
The outbreak has now spread outside China. Taiwan has confirmed its first case of H7N9 in a 53-year old man who had returned from working in eastern China. The man was not believed to have come in contact with affected poultry, but was said to be in very serious condition.
Officials said that there was no evidence yet that the virus can be passed through casual person-to-person interaction, but they were monitoring the situation. Migratory birds have not yet been found to carry the virus, which could help limit its spread outside of China.
The latest bird flu outbreak is likely to depress sales at Yum Brands’ (NYSE:YUM) KFC restaurants in China.