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The World in Medicine
March 11, 1998

From Bird to Boy

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JAMA. 1998;279(10):739. doi:10.1001/jama.279.10.739

The virus reponsible for the deadly Hong Kong "chicken flu" apparently jumped directly from an infected bird to its first human casualty, a 3-year-old boy who died of the disease last May.

In the February 14 Lancet, researchers from the World Health Organization's National Influenza Centre at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, reported that the human virus, called A/HK/156/97, was so genetically similar to an avian virus that had killed thousands of chickens in Hong Kong last year that direct transmission was likely.