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Bird flu strain that killed man won't spread: China

The strain of bird flu that killed a Chinese bus driver won't spread to other people, a health agency said Monday. The Shenzhen Disease Control Center appealed for calm while officials investigated how the man contracted the H5N1 strain of the virus.

The 39-year-old driver, Chen, had developed a fever Dec. 21 and was hospitalized Dec. 25, according to local authorities. Tests confirmed he had H5N1, the first case of the disease in humans in 18 months.

Genetic tests indicated the virus spread directly from poultry to the man, who died Saturday in the southern city of Shenzhen, according to the disease control center.

"Though it is highly pathogenic to human beings, the virus cannot spread among people," the statement said, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. "There is no need for Shenzhen citizens to panic."

Humans are rarely infected with H5N1 and usually only those who come into close contact with diseased poultry get bird flu. Scientists are monitoring the virus for any signs it is becoming more easily transmissible from human to human.

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