Beijing China said Sunday it had asked for outside help to test three possible cases of bird flu in people, while scientists and government representatives prepared for a strategy session in Geneva amid fears of a possible worldwide flu pandemic among humans.
China said it asked the World Health Organization to help determine whether the bird flu virus caused the death of a 12-year-old girl and infected her 9-year-old brother and a 36-year-old middle school teacher in Wantang, a village in central Hunan province.
If confirmed, they would be China's first known human cases of the disease, which has killed at least 62 people across Southeast Asia since 2003.
The three came down with pneumonia last month following a bird flu outbreak among poultry in their village, Xinhua said.
The girl's brother and the teacher recovered. Chinese officials initially said the girl and her brother tested negative for the bird flu virus.
Final results on China's suspected cases could take weeks, said Roy Wadia, a WHO spokesman in Beijing.