Friday, April 5, 2013
Update on the H7N9 bird flu in China
I have family members who have signed up for a tour of Shanghai and a few other cities nearby. I have been asked to join them and am now wondering whether it is a good idea to still go ahead with the plan or otherwise. The visit is in October.
China reported that it had confirmed 14 cases of the new flu, and on Friday it reported that six cases were fatal according to NY Times.
Though only made as a precaution, U.S. federal health officials have begun to make a seed vaccine against the mysterious new H7N9 flu circulating in China. A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized, an agency virologist said the agency was “fairly worried” about the new virus.
No cases of human-to-human transmission have been confirmed. It is also not known how people are getting infected. The few known cases are spread out in a wide area around Shanghai. Exposure to infected poultry is an obvious suspicion. With the new flu, only two of the 14 known cases are poultry workers; a third was a cook.
On Thursday, the virus was found in pigeons in a Shanghai live bird market. The authorities began culling every bird there.
It will take at least a month to create the seed vaccine, even though the agency is speeding the process by building it from synthetic DNA rather than waiting for a virus sample to arrive from China, said Michael Shaw, associate laboratory director for the C.D.C.’s influenza division.
According to the World Health Organization, preliminary tests in China suggest the new virus is susceptible to the antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.
Several countries have acted against the flu. Vietnam banned imports of Chinese poultry. Japan posted airport notices urging people to report flu symptoms. Hong Kong banned the import of live birds from the mainland.
Full article: NY Times..C.D.C. Begins Work on Vaccine for China Flu