China's H7N9 bird flu virus has spread to a new province, state media have said. Cases have previously been reported in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as three other provinces.
"Two new cases of H7N9 bird flu infection were reported in central China's Henan province on Sunday," the Xinhua state news agency reported.
One of the victims, a 34-year-old man from the city of Kaifeng, was critically ill, while the other, a 65-year-old farmer from Zhoukou, is stable. The two cases do not appear to be related.
Nineteen people in close contact with the two infected people are under observation but have shown no signs of infection, Xinhua said.
Some 51 people have been infected with the virus so far and 11 have died since Chinese officials announced they'd found the first human cases of H7N9 two weeks ago.
On Friday, the first case was reported in the capital Beijing. The victim was a seven-year-old girl whose parents work in the poultry trade, the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. All other cases of human infection have been in the east of the country, in Shanghai and the nearby Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.
The World Health Organization said last week there is no evidence yet of H7N9 human-to-human transmission and health authorities do not know exactly how the virus is spreading. But the infection is believed to be crossing from birds to humans and several cities have responded with mass poultry culls.
dr/ch (Reuters, AFP)