H7N9 Bird Flu Is “Serious Threat,” Researchers Warn

Researchers continue to study the outbreak of a new type of bird flu, H7N9, in China for any signs that the virus can spread through person-to-person contact. “As long as it can spread only from a bird to a person through direct contact it poses a relatively small risk globally – particularly in richer countries where such contact is rare,” reports James Gallagher of BBC News. “If it can spread from one person to another then the threat becomes much more potent.” Viruses are numerous, and how they might spread or mutate is unpredictable. Mutations can occur in a matter of days. The H7N9 influenza is a mix of at least four viruses with origins in ducks and chickens. But the poultry show no signs of illness, posing a challenge for surveillance teams. The World Health Organization suggests the high number of known infections is unusually high – and researchers need to maintain a calm vigilance. – YaleGlobal

H7N9 Bird Flu Is “Serious Threat,” Researchers Warn

Outbreak of a new type of bird flu in China poses "serious threat" to human health, but it’s too early to predict how far it will spread or mutate
James Gallagher
Friday, May 3, 2013
James Gallagher is health and science reporter with the BBC News.
BBC © 2013

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