What A Week! 16 Cases, 6 Deaths from H7N9 In China – 20K Birds Killed in Shanghai – WHO Says Pandemic Potential Is Unknown
I woke up early this morning in the California and quickly read through the major news feeds and Twitter postings to figure out what went on while I was asleep. The H7N9 has been isolated in a poultry market in Shanghai on Friday leading Chinese authorities to slaughter over 20,000 birds.
Shanghai authorities stressed the H7N9 virus remained sensitive to the drug Tamiflu and those who were diagnosed early could be cured.
The virus has been shared with World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating centers in Atlanta, Beijing, London, Melbourne and Tokyo, and these groups are analyzing samples to identify the best candidate to be used for the manufacture of vaccine – if it becomes necessary.
The World Health Organization announced on 4 April there was no sign of “sustained human-to-human transmission” of the H7N9 virus in China, but it was important to check on 400 people who had been in close contact with the 14 confirmed cases.
The 3 April WHO FAQ document on the H7N9 virus answers the question about whether this virus could produce a global pandemic as follows: Any animal influenza virus that develops the ability to infect people is a theoretical risk to cause a pandemic. However, whether the influenza A(H7N9) virus could actually cause a pandemic is unknown. Other animal influenza viruses that have been found to occasionally infect people have not gone on to cause a pandemic.