H7N9 more likely to transmit among humans than other bird flu


The wife (left) of the H7N9 bird flu patient surnamed Zhang (2nd from right) shakes hands

with a medical staff member at the Zaozhuang Municipal Hospital in Zaozhuang City, east

China’s Shandong Province, on March 16, 2013.  Zhang has recovered from the disease as the

first H7N9 bird flu infection in Shandong Province.  Photo by Sun Zhongzhe


By Tian Ying and Lv Nuo 

A China, World Health Organization (WHO) joint report said the H7N9 bird flu virus has a higher potential for human-to-human transmission than any other known bird flu virus.

The report, compiled after the WHO’s week-long field assessment of the influenza, was publicized by China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission on Saturday of May 18.

It said, the H7N9 virus, compared with other bird flu virus, has infected more in a shorter time, and some H7N9 virus have shown genetic alterations which means they have adapted to be more contagious than other avian influenza virus.

Besides, the WHO offered the Chinese government several suggestions, including staying alert despite the virus’ seasonal weakening during the summer, as the virus poses grave hazards and a lot of its basic information are still not known.

The report admitted there are still uncertainties surrounding this fresh strain of virus, asserting that exposure to live poultry is a major risk factor.

The WHO last month sent a joint mission of experts to China to survey areas affected by H7N9 in Shanghai and Beijing for a week-long assessment of the influenza.

From Late March when the first H7N9 case was reported to May 13, the Chinese mainland had reported a total of 130 confirmed H7N9 cases. Thirty-five of these cases ended in death, and 57 patients have recovered and been discharged from the hospital, according to official statistics.


H7N9 found in poultry sample in S China

By Yu Wenjing and Rong Jiaojiao

A poultry sample in south China has tested positive for H7N9 virus, the country’s agriculture authority said on Monday of May 20.

The avian flu virus, which has so far led to the deaths of 36 people nationwide, was detected in a sample of chicken that came from a market in the city of Zengcheng in Guangdong Province.

After completing gene sequence analysis, the national avian flu reference laboratory concluded that the strain of H7N9 found in the sample was highly cogeneric with that found in a pigeon sample tested on April 4.

The ministry has ordered Guangdong to properly dispose of the sample and increase monitoring efforts.


China okays H7N9 test reagents for market entry

By Zuo Yuanfeng

Two reagents used to conduct clinical tests for human infections of the H7N9 avian flu have been given approval to enter the Chinese market, according to the country’s drug watchdog.

The two products, respectively developed by Shanghai ZJ Bio-Tech Co., Ltd. and DAAN Gene Co., Ltd. of Sun Yat-sen University, were approved Tuesday by the China Food and Drug Administration, according to a circular issuedby the administration on Wednesday of May 22.

Both products use fluorescent polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a biochemical technology that can locate bits of genetic material unique to the virus and amplify them for easy identification with the help of fluorescent markers.

According to the circular, the products can detect the presence of H7N9 in samples of respiratory secretions.

The latest official figures show that the Chinese mainland had reported 130 confirmed H7N9 cases, of which 36 ended in death, as of May 20. Seventy-two patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals.





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