After a long lasting obscurity about the lethality of the H7N9 bird flu virus, it has finally been confirmed by the World Health Organisation representatives in China that the virus is “one of the most lethal” of its kind. And, although there hasn’t been any proof, there is a strong likelihood that this avian flu virus could be transmittable between humans.
Since early March, when the H7N9 virus was first detected in Shanghai China 109 people have been diagnosed with the virus and 23 have been killed. It is not yet clear whether these figures will reduce as according to reports Keiji Fukuda, the assistant general for health security at WHO, has expressed the current status as remaining “ complex and difficult and evolving.”
Scientific research has shown that the H7N9 flu virus may be a product of gene re – assortment, as it has gene codes from various other viruses. It has also been established that the infected poultry do not display any visible illness, and may not be easily identifiable. This makes it much harder to control the transmission to humans which makes the flu most dangerous to human beings.
Anne Kelso, a director of the’ WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza’ in Melbourne is reported to have indicated that since the shutdown of the poultry markets in Shanghai early in April, there has been a notable reduction in the level of infections. The figures issued in China, however, reveal that a substantial amount of the patients diagnosed had no known contact with poultry.
Scientists have also confirmed that the virus has been transmitted to humans from chickens, although some things still remain a mystery. A man that had worked in Eastern China has also been diagnosed in Taiwan on Wednesday. It is said that the patient had also not been in contact with any poultry nor eaten any poultry products while in China. Some countries such as Canada have developed increased concerns for their citizens flying into China, and have issued relevant health precautions and recommendations for its travellers.
There are still many researches around the H7N9 bird flu virus, to clearly determine its genetic make-up and level of human- to – human transmission. It is apparent that there is currently a lot of uncertainty and lack of proper control of transmissions, and more fatalities are expected.