WHO States No Evidence Found of Bird Flu Spreading Between Humans
The recent outbreak of China's bird flu, H7N9 has the global community on their toes. The last time China dealt with a deadly flu was in 2003 with the H5N1 virus responsible for over 365 deaths. During that time, the H5N1 virus killed 60 percent of the people it infected according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The new avian flu strain present in China has been confirmed in 24 reported cases with seven deaths. Although there is evidence that the virus can spread from bird to human through consumption, WHO announced that there is no proof that the virus can be transferred from human to human, which makes containing the virus a bit easier.
"Although we do not know the source of infection, at this time there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission," the WHO's representative in China, Michael O' Leary stated. "The human cases we know of are very serious. A large proportion has died."
China was under scrutiny recently for waiting three weeks before reporting the first death from H7N9. However, China explained that the three weeks delay was due to research in determining whether or not the victim died from the virus. Since then, China has culled hundreds of chickens as an attempt to prevent the flu from spreading. Shanghai alone culled over 111,000 birds since the outbreak and has actively forbid live poultry trading. Other areas, such as Nanjing city and Hangzhou have taken similar approaches.
Even though the virus might not be transferable between people, Chinese health experts have stated that this new virus can last longer in the animals, leading to a higher rate of infection. So far, the outbreak of the flu has been concentrated in the commercial area of Shanghai, two nearby provinces of Zhejiang, and in the Jiangsu and Anhui provinces.
Until further research is done regarding the source of the infection, China needs to continue to take drastic measures in preventing more deaths from happening, and fortunately for now, the virus cannot be spread between people.