What Is h7n9 and Why You Should Be Worried

| August 9, 2013 |


Earlier in the week we reported on how scientists think the Earth could end. One very plausible idea was that of a pandemic. In today’s interconnected world, it’s easy to imagine that an airborne virus could wreak havoc across the world. We’ve heard of Sars, and recently MERS and I’m sure you’ve heard of the bid flu. Well this h7n9 is a new strain of the bird flu.

H7N9, compared to H5N1 (what we know as the bird flu), has a special liking for human receptors on cells, which started to get people thinking that this could be a serious threat to humans

The h7n9 strain was first identified in China earlier in the year. Initially, scientists thought that the risk of human to human transmission was very small.  These were Chinese scientists. Nothing against Chinese scientists, just pointing out the facts.

Western scientists, have been suspicious of H7N9 human-to-human transmission, however, details out of China have been sketchy. A new report in the British Journal has provided us with a great deal of concern and proof that human to human transmission can occur.

The virus initially killed a 60 year old man who received the disease from chickens. His death was closely followed by the death of the old man’s 32 year old daughter, who was said to be healthy. She was caring for him at the time. The old man frequented a live chicken farm and developed a fever 6 days after his last visit.

It wouldn’t take much for this virus to spread in the US. China receives 2.1 million visitors from the US each year.

What do you think? Should we be concerned?

Category: Media

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