ICYMI: China is Facing an Outbreak of H7N9

ICYMI: China is Facing an Outbreak of H7N9

H7N9 is an Avian Flu that has been spreading throughout China to a large degree. This is not to be confused with the flu in Tennessee, USA which is H7N9 HPAI. This is different, though still a form of a bird flu.

This outbreak in China of H7N9, however, is the biggest yet. According to Medpage Today, as of the first of the month of March, this flu has infected 460 people. This form of avian flu was first identified back in 2013. This outbreak alone counts for more than a third of all recorded accounts of H7N9 since its identification.

To be clear — this is the biggest outbreak of H7N9 specifically. As of yet, there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of reason to worry that this will turn into a pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean that this won’t be a risk in the future. As of right now, Wenqing Zhang, an MD and head of the Global Influenza Programme of WHO, says that the flu doesn’t have the ability to “spread efficiently among people”.

According to the Medpage article, this appears to be the peak of the Chinese outbreak, though sporadic cases of the flu could still show up.

With all this being said, it’s still a little worrisome should someone actually contract the disease. The virus does have two of the three characteristics that could lead to a pandemic (the one missing being mentioned above). Because people have no immunity to it, it can be harmful if someone does have it.

It could always spread to the USA in some capacity via travelers in and out of the country, but it doesn’t mean that it will. For now, it’s just good to be aware of it, and to hope that less and less people in China have to suffer through this horrible flu.

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