BEIJING, April 12 (UPI) -- The number of people killed in China by the rare H7N9 bird flu has risen to 10 among the 38 infected so far, health authorities said.
Of the 38 infected by the flu strain, 18 were in Shanghai, six of whom have died. It was in Shanghai where the first deaths were reported this month.
Health authorities said five more confirmed cases of the bird flu were reported Thursday -- three in Shanghai and two in Jiangsu province -- raising the total number of people infected in the country to 38, which includes the 10 deaths, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The latest death was that of a 74-year-old man Thursday who had earlier been diagnosed with pneumonia. He later tested positive for the H7N9 virus.
Some of the infected people remained in critical condition Friday, authorities said.
Health officials in the affected regions have agreed to set up a regional mechanism for joint prevention and control of the disease, the report said.
Xinhua said Wednesday a 4-year-old boy who had tested positive was discharged from a Shanghai hospital, making him the first H7N9 patient to recover.
Authorities also have launched a nationwide program to screen for H7N9 among those with pneumonia whose cause has not been determined.
Chinese health officials have said the H7N9 virus shows no signs of being highly contagious among humans and there are no vaccines against it anywhere as not much research has been done. However, another strain of avian flu, H5N1, has reportedly led to hundreds of deaths since 2003 and has killed millions of birds.
The World Health Organization has been informed about the latest flu cases.