Latest Global spread of H5N1 Stories
Cases of bird flu were confirmed at a UK duck breeding farm and a chicken farm in the Netherlands over the weekend, though public health officials are assuring people that the disease poses little risk to humans.
Since its first identification in Asia, highly pathogenic avian influenza—H5N1—has caused significant alarm in the scientific community.
As China embraces for the Lunar New Year this week, the country’s health officials are also dealing with a resurgence of the dangerous H7N9 bird flu that first started sweeping across the country in February 2013.
A strain of avian influenza that has sickened nearly 650 people in China and neighboring regions has now been confirmed in North America. The H5N1 bird flu strain was discovered on January 1, 2014 in a Canadian tourist who had recently returned from China.
Health officials from Hong Kong have reported that an 80-year-old man is the first person to die from H7N9 in the island region. The news comes less than a month after the first case of the bird flu was detected there in a 36-year-old domestic helper who had traveled to Shenzhen for live poultry.
A bird flu strain not previously seen in humans has been reported by Chinese health authorities to have infected a 73-year-old woman in east China’s Jiangxi Provincial capital of Nanchang.
The deadly H7N9 bird flu strain that has so far sickened 139 people in eastern China and Taiwan since April, has now been confirmed in the southeastern island city of Hong Kong.
A team of Chinese researchers has discovered the first probable case of human to human transmission of H7N9 bird flu in China. While the news is startling, the researchers still stress that it does not spread efficiently in this manner.
The H7N9 bird flu that emerged in China in March has been labeled more deadly than 2009’s H1N1 swine flu outbreak, but less severe than the H5N1 bird flu outbreak that affected the region in 2003.
A newly released paper is suggesting that an antiviral drug used to treat bird flu patients may not be as effective as health officials had hoped, leaving the door open for further illness and possible death.