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China WHO chief: Beijing H7N9 case not surprising

The World Health Organization

MGN Online

BEIJING (AP) - The World Health Organization's chief said Sunday that it wasn't surprising that a new strain of bird flu that has sickened dozens in eastern China has spread to the capital.

Up until Saturday when Beijing officials reported the capital's first case of H7N9, all cases had been in Shanghai and other eastern China areas. On Sunday, the first two cases were reported in central Henan province, which is next to Beijing.

It's not the case that everyone confirmed infected with H7N9 was "clustered in one small area with the same source of exposure," said Michael O'Leary, head of WHO's office in China. "So we've been expecting new cases to occur."

A 7-year-old girl was Beijing's first confirmed case of H7N9, which has killed 11 people and sickened 50 others.

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