Bird Flu Numbers Could Double

H7N9 bird flu infections in China may continue to increase

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Counts of infections from the H7N9 strain of bird flu have been increasing since the first case was reported at the end of March.

According to Bloomberg News, researchers from the University of Hong Kong have reported that the actual number of avian influenza infections may be around double the numbers currently confirmed.

"Wash your hands frequently during flu season."

The latest counts from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed 108 cases of human infection with the H7N9 strain, 22 of which have resulted in deaths.

Bloomberg reported that Benjamin Cowling, of the University of Hong Kong’s Public Health Research Center, estimated that there could be between 90 and 120 yet unidentified adult patients. It is theorized that these cases may not have been spotted due to mild symptoms and infections.

As previously reported by dailyRx News, there has been at least one asymptomatic case discovered in a young boy in Beijing, along with several separate cases involving mild symptoms.

The University of Hong Kong researchers also noted that the H7N9 strain does not seem to strike all age groups uniformly.

“The researchers’ analysis suggests risk of serious illness from the virus rises substantially with age, with more than half of reported cases age 60 or older,” reported Bloomberg News.

The virus has continued to spread and move, and according to Forbes, Shandong Province has reported its first infection. Zhejiang Province currently has the most H7N9 patients.

dailyRx News also previously reported on concerns about potential human-to-human transmission. However, WHO’s latest H7N9 update maintained that no evidence has been found to support the theory.

Still, Forbes reported that over 40 percent of the H7N9 patients have not handled poultry.

Much has yet to be learned about the transmission of this bird flu strain, but moves are being made to try to bring the spread under control.

“Beijing and major eastern Chinese cities have closed live poultry markets and are taking other precautions to limit the spread of the new virus,” reported Forbes.

As further research is completed by a variety of scientists and organizations across the globe, more is likely to be learned about how the virus is spread and how to prevent new infections. Bloomberg noted that the University of Hong Kong researchers who predicted a possible doubling of case numbers will continue their studies.

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Review Date: 
April 24, 2013
Last Updated:
November 12, 2013