Scientists working in Shanghai, China have announced that genetic differences in the potentially lethal bird flu virus which is going around China is increasing the possibility of a pandemic strain and they fear a pandemic is about to strike. There have been three new variations of the avian influenza type H7N9 virus found this winter. They came about by poultry transmission and the combination of genomic material from a flu strain known as H9N2. The researchers said that the various strains could be behind a swell of infections in a southern province of China which borders Hong Kong as well.
It is believed that nearly 180 people have been infected with H7N9 this year. So far that makes almost 20 more than in all of the year 2013, according to a medical record of established cases. Every individual case raises the risk of the virus being better able to infect humans instead of birds, which gives it the possible capacity to be easily spread from one person to another. The Guangdong province and the Shanghai cosmopolitan area have been the two hardest hit areas, the researchers penned in a paper that was printed in the journal Eurosurveillance. Guangdong alone has had nearly 70 cases of H7N9 and almost 15 deaths in that region been reported. The very latest was a man, age 78, who died on Feb. 14.
H7N9 has caused illness in nearly 350 people and killed over 70 of them, mainly in the inland of China. The scientists stated that their findings suggest there is a conceivable risk that a pandemic might develop. Several people who have gotten this flu might have caught it from the unlawful bird marketplace. It is usually hard to get and the majority of cases have been found to have had something to do with poultry contact.
Throughout the nation of China, there have been nearly 40 deaths, according to public health officials. The health ministry stated that in just the month of January alone, there were nearly 130 cases reported.
A poultry market in Guangzhou is considered one of China’s most chaotic, with more than 60,500 birds sold each day. The market has most likely performed mass slaughtering of chickens and other poultry on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong and this would have made the disease much more likely to spread. Shanghai put a three month suspension on any live poultry sales back in January. Also last month, Hong Kong decided to stop any sale of live poultry from mainland China.
The World Health Organization has said that so far there is no evidence that there has been any human-to-human spreading but has suggested close observation due to the erratic behavior of flu viruses. Authorities also have confirmed a second circumstance of H10N8 which is a different bird flu strain known to sicken humans. In the first case, a woman, age 73, passed away in December of 2013.
The Chinese poultry sellers are losing over $150 million per month, stated the president of the Guangdong Poultry Association. During the last bird flu outbreak in China, which occurred in April of 2012, manufacturers ended up losing $11 billion. Scientists working in Shanghai, China have announced that genetic differences in the lethal bird flu virus which is going around China is increasing the possibility of a pandemic strain to arise and strike at any time.
By Kimberly Ruble