Global travel gives wings to H7N9 bird flu

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A growing concern is the doubtful reliability of reportage from Chinese authorities. Last week Chinese police detained more than 10 people for “spreading rumors” about the H7N9 flu. Many people are skeptical about the government’s information. In blogs, they point to a history of government cover-ups and scandals regarding other outbreaks, like SARS, which emerged in 2002 and killed one in 10.

On April 1, The Department of Health and Human Services released this information about the H7N9 virus:

“This is a ‘novel’ (non-human) virus and therefore has the potential to cause a pandemic if it were to change to become easily and sustainably spread from person to person. So far, this virus has not been determined to have that capability. However, influenza viruses constantly change and it’s possible that this virus could gain that ability. CDC takes routine preparedness actions whenever a new virus with pandemic potential is identified, including developing a candidate vaccine virus to make a vaccine if it were to be needed. There is no licensed H7N9 vaccine available at this time.”

Copyright © 2013 Randi Kreiss. Randi can be reached at

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