A Chinese expert has said that the H5N1 bird flu virus has shown signs of mutation and can kill human victims more easily if treatment is not given early enough.
Zhong Nanshan, an expert on respiratory diseases, told reporters in Beijing that vigilance should be kept up, especially when H5N1 human cases are surfacing at a time when seasonal human influenza is at a peak, according to news agencies.
"When avian flu is around and human flu appears, this will raise the chances of avian flu turning into a human flu. We have to be very alert and careful in March," Zhong was quoted by the Ming Pao newspaper as saying.
"People who were killed by bird flu last year and this year were too poor to seek treatment. If you happen to have high fever and pneumonia, you must seek treatment fast," he added.