CHINA CONFIRMS NEW HUMAN H7N9 INFECTION

Influenza_2A new human H7N9 influenza A case has been confirmed in east China’s Zhejiang province as of Tuesday, October 15th, 2013.

By the end of August 2013, cases of H7N9 bird flu cases in China reached 134. 45 patients have died.

H7N9 is a new type of flu that has made the jump from birds to people in China.

Should we be worried about an H7N9 epidemic?  Not just yet.  As of right now, H7N9 can only spread from animal (bird) to human.  It has been detected in chickens, ducks, and pigeons at markets in China.  Unless you have close contact with birds in the regions affected, the risks are low… but this can change as the virus mutates.

Check out the news alert here:

China confirms new human H7N9 infection

FACTS:

Influenza is an infectious disease of birds and mammals caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae

– Symptoms of H7N9 is mainly severe pneumonia. The virus can overload the immune system. Blood poisoning and organ failure are also possible.

– The H’s and N’s are used to classify different types of Influenza A. The ‘H’ stands for HAEMAGGLUTININ and the ‘N’ stands for NEURAMINIDASE. Both are proteins on the surface of the virus which come in different varieties, each of which is given a different number; hence, H7N9, in this case.

– The ‘flu’ is considered a ‘zoonotic’, or animal borne, pathogen. Zoonotic diseases are shared among humans and animals, though the pathway is commonly animal-to-human.

– 70% of all emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in humans have animal origin

SOURCES:

ProMED Mail

Xinhua News Agency

Reperant, L. A. (2009) Applying the theory of island biogeography to emerging pathogens: toward predicting the sources of future emerging zoonotic and vector-borne diseases. Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 10(2):105-110.

Uyeki, T. M. and Cox, N. J. (2013) Global concerns regarding novel influenza A (H7N9) virus infections. The New England Journal of Medicine, 368:1862-1864.

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