Danger Ahead: H7N9 Bird Flu

Posted by M ws On Friday, April 26, 2013 0 comments

There has now been 82 confirmed cases of the H7N9 bird flu in China, as officials say most of the contact was from live healthy looking animals. As of yet there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus. However, some do question if things will ramp up as 17 of the people who died from the virus progressed from onset to death in just 11 days.

The virus attacks the respiratory system.

Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general for health security of the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in a press conference Wednesday that, “This is an unusually dangerous virus for humans” as is is more easily transmitted than H5N1

The Los Angeles Times reported today, “To date, the mortality rate is 21%, but since many of [sic] patients with confirmed H7N9 virus infection remain critically ill, we suspect that the mortality may increase,” they wrote in their study, published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine. “Since this H7N9 virus appears to have emerged recently to infect humans, population immunity is expected to be low, and persons of any age may be susceptible to infection.”

The report paints a fuller picture of the outbreak, which hascaused Chinese people to become so panicked that one motorist felt the need to flag down police after a bird dropping landed on her car.

Cases of H7N9 infection have been confirmed in six provinces: Shanghai (31 cases), Zhejiang (25), Jiangsu (20), Anhui (three), Henan (two) and Beijing (one). The statistics paint a picture of the typical bird flu victim as an older urban male.

Chinese health officials tested 664 pneumonia patients who were sick enough to be hospitalized between March 25 and April 17. Of these patients, 81, or 12%, tested positive for H7N9 infection. In addition, 5,551 unhospitalized people withflu-like symptoms were tested, and one of them was confirmed to have H7N9.

The 82 confirmed patients ranged in age from 2 to 89 years old, but most were at the higher end of that range and 46% were at least 65. The report said that 73% of patients were men and 84% lived in urban areas.”


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