What Does The New Bird Flu In China Look Like?
Since February, a new strain of bird flu — called H7N9 — has infected at least 126 people and killed 24 across 10 cities and provinces in China.
“This is an unusually dangerous virus for humans,” Keiji Fukuda, from the World Health Organization, said Wednesday in Beijing. The virus “is more easily transmissible from poultry to humans than H5N1,” he added.
H7N9 bird flu may be hiding out at markets where live chickens are sold, the journal Science reported:
Shanghai closed its live poultry markets on 6 April, shortly after the market link was suspected. “Almost immediately there was a decline in the number of new cases,” said Anne Kelso, director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia. “This is a very encouraging outcome so far,” she added, calling the decision to close markets “very quick and appropriate.”
But the exact source of the virus is still a mystery.
Back in the U.S., scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been busy growing H7N9 in the lab so researchers around the world can start studying it.
The CDC released the first images of H7N9 taken with an electron microscope. The virus forms both filaments, top, and spherical shapes, middle.
Images from the CDC.