China appears to have beaten back the latest strain of bird flu, according to global health authorities, but at no small cost. A total of 36 people have died, and UN experts said on Tuesday that the economy lost $6.5 billion as a result of the outbreak.
The total number of infections has not increased since the tally hit 131 on May 8 (including one in Taiwan) but China, and the rest of the world, are not out of the danger zone yet. “The immediate outbreak has been controlled,” said Keiji Fukada, of the World Health Organization, “but it is also unlikely that the virus has simply disappeared. We believe we need to go another autumn/winter/spring season to know.” He also warned that the world is not prepared for a highly contagious strain of flu—something that H7N9 virus never morphed into, but still might in the future.