China says bird flu has reached Beijing

Beijing, Apr 14 (EFE).- A total of 57 people have now been confirmed infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus, with 12 new cases, including the first in Beijing, registered this weekend, state media reported Sunday.

The patient in Beijing is a 7-year-old girl who is expected to recover.

The unidentified girl's family has a poultry business in the capital's Shunyi district.

The girl has been hospitalized since Thursday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Two adults who had contact with the girl, presumably her parents, are being monitored by doctors and have not exhibited any influenza symptoms, health officials and hospital spokesmen told Xinhua.

No other individuals or classmates who came into contact with the girl have exhibited flu symptoms, the news agency said.

Shanghai has been the city most affected by the flu virus up to now.

The World Health Organization, or WHO, has dismissed the possibility of a pandemic since no cases have been identified of the virus being transmitted between humans.

Some in China have questioned the government's delay in announcing infections of this new strain of flu, whose first case occurred on March 1 but was not confirmed until the end of the month.

The Health Ministry, however, said the delay was due to the tests that allowed the virus to be identified.