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U.S. Doctors Told To Lookout For Avian Flu

Update Date: Apr 19, 2013 01:12 PM EDT

As a precautionary measure, hospitals within the United States have been told to keep an eye out for possible cases of the H7N9 bird flu that has been on the rise in China. Although there has not been any reported cases of the avian flu within the U.S., health officials do not want to risk an outbreak on this end of the world due to lack of awareness. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently held a conference call with medical and health-care professionals to go over the guidelines in dealing with H7N9 inflicted patients, such as treatment options and containment procedures.

The CDC states that hospitals were told to look out for the symptoms of patients who might have just returned from China or had contact with someone within China that could have had the virus. The CDC recommends doctors to pay extra attention to respiratory complications. Once again, the CDC stresses that there has not been a case of the avian flu within the United States and wants hospitals to be prepared regardless. The CDC spokesperson, Erin Burns, stated that the recent conference call should "be considered routine preparedness measures for an outbreak with pandemic potential."

The World Health Organization (WHO) also stated that there is still no evidence that the avian flu is transmissible between humans. So far, officials know that the people who contracted the virus got it from the infected poultry and not from each other. Since the onset of the virus, China has reported 92 cases of human infections with 17 fatalities. The cases have stayed within the area of Shanghai and other nearby provinces. The H7N9 strain of the bird flu has not spread throughout China either. Furthermore, there is still no evidence as to how this strain of bird flu started but the country has culled over hundreds of thousands of birds.

There are currently no vaccines for this strain of the bird flu, which is why containment is vital. Any cases of possible infection are recommended to be reported within 24 hours to the CDC. 

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