Two days ago, it was reported that a 53-year-old Taiwan businessman has contracted the H7N9 strain of bird flu while travelling in China. This is the first reported case outside of mainland China.
Malaysia too had a death of a woman with quite the same symptoms early this month which caused some jitters but more of that later.
So far, there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission in the case of the H7N9 flu. Transmission is from bird to human though some infected patients were nowhere around poultry when they contracted the flu.
As of today, infected are 108 people in mainland China, one in Taiwan
People killed as of today: 23
Here is some information on what we need to know about the H7N9 flu.
Excerpt from MSN.com:
What's so bad about this flu:
- It's "one of the most lethal" strains of bird flu scientists have ever seen.
- A World Health Organization expert says the virus transmits more easily to humans than another deadly flu strain that appeared in 2003.
- It's still evolving. Influenza experts say it's probably still swapping genes with other strains, potentially making itself stronger.
- If it succeeds, the world could be facing a deadly flu pandemic. But like other flu viruses, it may also fail and just fizzle out.
- It doesn't seem to sicken poultry, however. This alarms scientists, leading them to believe it's been silently spreading in the bird population.
How it's transmitted:
- Bird to human
- So far, evidence shows it's not spread from person to person, according to the WHO.
Measures taken to prevent it from spreading:
- In early April, China shut down live poultry markets in many affected regions. This slowed the virus' spread almost immediately.
- Thousands of ducks and chickens have been killed, though officials didn't order wide-scale slaughter of poultry.
- Airports in Asia set up stricter controls: Taiwan will test travelers who show flu symptoms. Vietnam is screening temperatures of all visitors. Starting in May, Japan will make "thermographic inspections" of all travelers from China.
- Poultry imports from China are banned in Vietnam and the Philippines. Other countries are considering restrictions.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is prepping a vaccine, just in case.
Symptoms: Fever, breathing problems, pneumonia
How to avoid getting it:
- Stay away from live poultry in China — not only chickens but ducks, geese, pigeons, etc.
- If you have symptoms or come in contact with someone who has the flu, follow the CDC's advice to prevent its spread. And see a doctor as soon as you feel sick.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
Excerpt from CNN:
It's dangerous and deadly to humans
"This is definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we have seen so far," said Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization's assistant director-general for health, security and the environment, told a news conference Wednesday in Beijing..
The H7N9 strain was never known to infect people until March. Before then, it was only found in birds.
If the virus does start to spread easily between people, it could trigger a pandemic.
Cooking poultry can kill the virus before you eat it
In normal cooking temperatures -- so all parts of the meat reach at least 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius) with no "pink" -- the virus would be inactivated, including in poultry and game birds.
Generally, eating raw meat is discouraged anyway, as doing so can lead to a variety of foodborne illnesses.
You should not, however, eat diseased animals or animals known to have died from diseases.
No travel restrictions; low U.S. risk
The CDC is not advising against traveling to China, but travelers who go there should refrain from touching birds and other animals and wash their hands often.
"Anyone with fever, coughing or shortness of breath within 10 days of traveling to China should see a doctor and tell the doctor about the recent travel to China," the CDC said on its website.
In Malaysia, the Health Ministry has issued a Press Release clarifying on a case of Legionella virus infecting one person in the country. The patient, a 40-year-old woman died on Apr 5 2013 due to the severe broncho pneumonia with Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).
Initial investigation showed that there was another case admitted to a private hospital on 10 April 2013 and discharged on 13 April 2013 with a diagnosis of acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma. Patients tested positive for legionella and negative infections for influenza A (H1N1), dengue fever and leptospirosis.
There are 2 more hospitalized cases respectively on 17 April and 18 April 2013. Both were discharged in good health after a few days of stay in hospital with their diagnosis - were caused by acute tonsillitis and acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma. Both of them were negative for legionella, influenza A (H1N1), dengue fever and leptospirosis.
Some information about Legionnaires' disease or Legionellosis..
Legionnaires' disease (LEE-juh-nares) is caused by a type of bacteria called Legionella. The Legionella bacteria are found naturally in the environment, usually in water. The bacteria grow best in warm water, like the kind found in hot tubs, cooling towers, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains. However, they do not seem to grow in car or window. air-conditioners.
The bacteria are not spread from one person to another person.
Read more about Legionnaires' disease - causes and transmissions, signs and symptoms, etc.