THE OUTBREAK

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KUNMING, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) — As rabies sweeps across dog populations in China’s southwest Yunnan province almost 5,000 canines have been culled in an anti-rabies campaign. With 5 human deaths in the past three months, the municipal government in Baoshan City is carrying out a campaign to stop the threat, with more than 4,900 dogs killed and 100,000 vaccinated. The human casualties, one in July and four in August, were reported in… Read More

(Reuters) – China has sealed off parts of its northwestern city of Yumen after a resident died of bubonic plague last week, state media reported on Tuesday. A 38-year-old victim was infected by a marmot, a wild rodent, and died on July 16. Several districts of the city of about 100,000 people in Gansu province were subsequently turned into special quarantine zones, Xinhua said. It said 151 people who came into direct… Read More

In June 2012, three men removing slag from a derelict copper mine in southwestern China fell ill with severe pneumonia and died. Six months later, researchers went spelunking in the mine—an artificial cave hewn from a hillside—in search of pathogens. After taking anal swabs from bats, rats, and musk shrews living in the cave, the team has discovered what it says is a new virus that may have felled the workers. The… Read More

A mapping study in China that recently predicted the spread of the H7N9 avian flu virus into Guangxi province has flagged northern Vietnam as the next high-risk area, according to researchers in China and their US collaborators. The findings come at a time when the pace of new H7N9 cases in the second wave of infections has slowed to just a few sporadic cases per week. Two cases were reported in the… Read More

Genetic variations in the deadly bird flu virus circulating in China increase the potential for a pandemic strain to emerge, researchers in Shanghai said. Three new variants of the avian influenza type-A H7N9 virus have been found this winter, spurred by transmission in poultry and the incorporation of genetic material from another strain called H9N2, scientists at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and Institutes of Biomedical Sciences said. The new strains… Read More

A total of 31 people died from H7N9 bird flu in mainland China in January, the government announced on Monday, making it by far the worst month in the outbreak. There were a total of 127 confirmed human H7N9 cases in January, according to a statement by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC). The number is almost as high as for the whole of last year, when China had 144… Read More

“The pandemic potential of this novel virus should not be underestimated.” PARIS: Chinese scientists sounded the alarm on Wednesday after a new bird flu virus, H10N8, killed an elderly woman in December and infected another individual last month. The fifth novel influenza strain to emerge in 17 years, the virus has a worrying genetic profile and should be closely monitored, they reported in The Lancet medical journal. It appears to be able… Read More

With the Chinese New Year and the Olympics on the horizon, health officials can only watch and wait for a potential pandemic. As the first human cases of H7N9 bird flu infection outside of China begin to emerge—in Taiwan and Hong Kong—health officials around the world are preparing for a potentially perfect storm for a massive flu outbreak. On Thursday, billions of Chinese will be on the move to celebrate the Lunar… Read More

A family cluster of H7N9 [avian influenza] cases has been reported in Zhejiang where both parents and their daughter contracted the disease, bringing Mainland China’s total number of the confirmed cases this month [January 2014] to 110, according to the Xinhua News Agency. An official with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told Legal Evening News on Tuesday [27 Jan 2014] that the parents, who live in Xiaoshan, had worked… Read More

H7N9 avian flu replicates well in finches, sparrows, and parakeets experimentally inoculated with the pathogen, and the birds shed the virus in high numbers and show few signs of disease, scientists reported today in Emerging Infectious Diseases. Researchers from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and from China and Hong Kong inoculated groups of zebra finches, society finches, parakeets, and house sparrows with the H7N9 virus either intranasally, intraocularly, or… Read More