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WHO tries to find out how bird flu is transmitted in China

Researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) have only a limited understanding of the new strain of avian influenza that has killed 27 people and infected more than a hundred in China, says one of the organization's teams, explaining that it is uncertain how the disease spreads and how violent the outbreak could become.

The team, which went to China to study the strain, H7N9, said it had found no evidence of sustained transmission from human to human, which could cause a pandemic. Transmission between people would indicate that infection is easier. However, the researchers have stressed that they are still studying the possibility of limited transmission between humans due to the presence of small clusters of infections.

"The same issue has been investigated by local researchers, as well as by ourselves, and I think we do not know the answer," said the director-general for health security and environment at WHO, Keiji Fukuda. He added that the situation remains 'complex and difficult.'

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