China: Avian influenza H7N9 cases again


Avian flu H7N9 in China was considered to be contained. However, new cases of infection were reported again.
16.01.2014

Since the beginning of the year, the occurrence of the dangerous H7N9 pathogen has been increasingly observed in China and, according to the Chinese authorities, there were around 30 new infections among people. The pathogen was actually considered to be largely suppressed. Last Thursday, three other cases were reported in which people were infected with the pathogen, the Xinhua news agency reported.

At the end of March 2013, infections occurred for the first time in people with the virus, which subsequently spread throughout the country. As a precaution, tens of thousands of birds were culled in the affected provinces in the south and east and markets where live animals were offered were temporarily closed. To prevent worse things from happening, the authorities had quarantined people who went to a doctor or hospital with symptoms typical of the virus, such as fever, coughing sore throat and headache.

At first there was a decline
The way the Chinese authorities dealt with the appearance of the pathogen has led to a decrease in new infections and many of those affected have been released from the hospital after a short time. Nevertheless, the virus had led to death in around every third patient. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 139 people had been infected with the virus by November, 45 of which did not survive. According to the experts, there is generally a higher risk of spreading in winter than in warmer months.

Asian countries are more affected New variants of the H7 virus, which normally affects birds, keep appearing. In nature, the flu viruses usually specialize in different hosts. From year to year, new subgroups of virus types appear, which in rare cases can also spread to humans. This is the case with the most well-known form, the type A / H5N1, which has appeared occasionally among people since 2003. However, cases in Asia were reported rather, i.e. regions in which people live in close contact with infected animals. Mainly, however, poultry farmers have a problem with infected animals and only in exceptional cases does the pathogen pass onto humans. In December there was evidence of the first death in a person infected with A / H10N8 bird flu. (fr)

Image: Schemmi / pixelio.de

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