Influenza A(H7N9) ‘likely to become very or extremely severe’

More and more human cases that are infected with Influenza A (H7N9) emerged in China in recent months. Now Chinese scientists[1] have now taken a close look at the emerging epidemic. The full document can be downloaded here.

The results show that the cases in elderly, especially the male elderly, were significantly more than expected, which is different from human cases of H5N1 avian influenza and human cases of the pandemic H1N1 influenza.
They conclude that Influenza A (H7N9) will probably circulate in humans, birds and pigs for years. Moreover, with the driving force of natural selection, the virus will probably evolve into highly pathogenic avian bird flu in birds, and into a deadly pandemic influenza virus in humans. Therefore, the H7N9 outbreak has been assumed severe, and it is likely to become very or extremely severe in the future, highlighting the emergent need of forceful scientific measures to eliminate any infected animal flocks. The scientist suggest to build enough stockpile of H7N9 vaccine for human use in case the pandemic really occurs.

We’re all in dire straits if this scenario comes true.

[1] Zhuang et al: Epidemiological and risk analysis of the H7N9 subtype influenza outbreak in China at its early stage in Chinese Science Bulletin - 2013

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