Two more flu patients reported by Chinese officials

China says two more people have contracted bird flu in Shanghai, and authorities in nearby Nanjing have closed live poultry markets and suspended all poultry trade to combat a new flu strain that has killed six people.

Shanghai’s government said Saturday that the latest cases of the H7N9 virus were found in two male patients, age 66 and 74. It said the two patients developed symptoms late last month and were diagnosed with pneumonia in the past two days.

China has confirmed 18 people infected with the virus in densely populated eastern China. All six deaths have been recorded in Shanghai and nearby Zhejiang province.

Health officials have speculated that people are contracting the virus through direct contact with infected fowl, and say there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission.

China’s Food and Drug Administration said Saturday it had approved an intravenous anti-influenza drug called Peramivir, developed by the U.S. biotechnology firm BioCryst.

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