H7N9 Virus: One Of The Most Lethal We Have Seen So Far
UPDATE: A very deadly (bird flu) Avian Influenza ‘A’ virus (H7N9) — first reported in China during March 2013 — is now being confirmed to have ‘limited’ interhuman infection.
Beijing confirmed for the first time that H7N9 bird flu has spread from person to person.
While Chinese government controlled media has made it difficult to understand the full impact that is underway, and while some reports downplay the potential of a human-to-human pandemic outbreak of the killer virus, there are new reports which are alarming…
“…more human H7N9 infections and deaths have been reported in several provinces.”
“(Shanghai)…has reported eight human H7N9 infections in January, four of whom died, including one doctor.”
“It deserves high attention when the infection cases increase by dozens or hundreds of times.”
“There is no evidence of regular inter-human transmission,” “there has been no evidence for consistent human-to-human infection, but limited, single human-to-human transmission cases cannot be be ruled out.”
-(China) xinhuanet.com Jan. 27, 2014 “China goes on high H7N9 bird flu alert”
The fact that officials in China are using phrases such as “no evidence of ‘regular’ inter-human transmission” implies that it is indeed occurring. To what extent is subject to interpretation.
They are saying that it is not ‘consistent’, but again this implies that it is indeed occurring.
They say human-to-human transmission is ‘limited’, but this implies that it is occurring…
During the spring of 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 132 human H7N9 infections, with 44 deaths. One out of three people died from it.
The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese national newspaper, recently reported Jan. 29, 2014, that there have been 260 people infected with 71 casualties (27% mortality).
They also said,
“Already this year, 111 infection cases have been confirmed in China – 22 fatalities.”
…in just one month!
In another Xinhua report from Shenyang China on Jan. 28, “A man from northeast China’s Liaoning Province was detained by police after he allegedly spread rumors about H7N9 bird flu on the Internet,” …apparently indicating the degree to which the Chinese government is attempting to suppress related information.
Headlines from China in just the past 2 days include the following…
Chinese family of three infected with H7N9
Bird flu costs China’s farmers 20 bln
HK confirmed latest fatal case of human infected with H7N9
Live poultry markets should close if H7N9 detected
China reports 8 new human H7N9 cases
Experts call for detailed H7N9 rules
HK confirms H7N9 bird flu, to cull about 20,000 poultry
China Focus: China goes on high H7N9 bird flu alert
19 H7N9 deaths in China
12 H7N9 deaths in Chinese province
China reports 6 new human H7N9 cases
China steps up bird flu monitoring at customs
China reports 3 new human H7N9 cases
Five more cases of bird flu reported on Saturday in China
China’s Zhejiang reports 3 new H7N9 cases
China reports 10 new H7N9 human cases
Resurgent bird flu epidemic pains poultry industry
Hangzhou halts live poultry trading; Shanghai reports deaths
China’s health authorities on alert against H7N9
Last year, the outbreak decreased during the warmer summer months, but the virus is now picking up again…
More recently, the frequency of reports of human infection with H7N9 has increased; since the beginning of October, WHO and China have reported more new H7N9 cases in China per month relative to previous months.
Epidemiological investigations are ongoing for some of the more recent cases, and the CDC says “…currently no evidence has been found that indicates sustained human-to-human transmission is occurring.”
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified H7N9 as…
“…an unusually dangerous virus for humans.”
“This is definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we’ve seen so far.”
Source: Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health – news conference in Beijing (CNN)
Even during 2013, s study group headed by one of the world’s leading experts on avian flu reported that several instances of human-to-human infection are suspected.
Their efforts revealed the H7N9 virus’s ability to infect and replicate suggests H7N9 viruses have the potential to become a worldwide threat to human health.
“H7N9 viruses have several features typically associated with human influenza viruses and therefore possess pandemic potential and need to be monitored closely,”
“If H7N9 viruses acquire the ability to transmit efficiently from person to person, a worldwide outbreak is almost certain since humans lack protective immune responses to these types of viruses,”
Source: Yoshihiro Kawaoka of UW-Madison and the University of Tokyo
According to the World Health Organization, symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which may progress to severe pneumonia. The virus can also overload the immune system, causing blood poisoning and organ failure.
In an article in the The New England Journal of Medicine, doctors reported that most of the H7N9 patients had died of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or multiorgan failure.
While there is no major outbreak at this time, the situation warrants your attention. If and when the alarm sounds, there will be little or no time to prepare without risking exposure. The time to prepare is (as always) …now.