The second outbreak of Avian Influenza (bird flu) H7N9 in China is now being called an epidemic by the World Health Organization.
The latest outbreak of the bird flu in China seems to show signs of decreasing, which points to seasonal patterns; however WHO’s representative in China said this is not the time to relax. 2014 shows that there have been 72 deaths and 226 people infected with the H7N9 virus. We can compare this to last year’s event that had 144 infections and 46 deaths in 2013.
WHO and Chinese authorities maintain there is no evidence of sustained human transmission; however cases of close family members infecting each other have risen. Biospectrum (March, 2014) reported “The Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre last month said it had developed a genetically engineered vaccine for H7N9. Hangzhou, the current epicenter of the outbreak has announced radical plans to ban - forever - all live poultry trading in urban areas, according to state media, and replace it with factory-slaughtered and frozen meat.
The Chinese National Poultry Association estimated over $3 billion in losses so far. Controlling the disease is difficult because the birds (chickens and ducks) present no clinical signs of disease.
To find out more about H7N9 you can look at the CDC website here or go to the World Health Organization’s website here.
Biospectrum, 2014. Online. Available at: http://www.biospectrumasia.com/biospectrum/news/210971/-china-s-h7n9-outbreak-epidemic#.UysyfM5Wq1g [Accessed on 3/20/2014].
Center for disease control (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h7n9-virus.htm
World Health Organization (WHO): http://www.who.int/influenza/human_animal_interface/influenza_h7n9/en/