New Potential Threat of the H7N7 Bird Flu Strain Discovered

Posted on Wednesday, 21 August 2013 and filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through theRSS 2.0 . You can leave a response or trackback to this entry from your site


(hla) While Chinese scientists who tracked the evolution of the new bird flu virus (the H7N9 virus) discovered that ducks were the main hosts before the outbreak, they also found a new strain of virus called the H7N7 that has the ability to infect ferrets.

Since ferrets are often used as a laboratory subject to test if a particular virus can infect humans, the results of this test suggest that there may be a new flu virus lurking in birds that could potentially infect mammals.

Earlier this year, another strain of the bird flu virus, called the H7N9 virus, was discovered and health officials claimed that it spreads via direct contact with poultry, though there was one case reported that involved human-to-human transmission.

After further investigation, the researchers from Shantou University Medical College and the University of Hong Kong reported that "domestic ducks seem to act as key intermediate hosts by acquiring and maintaining diverse influenza viruses from migratory birds".

According to BBC News, the researchers concluded that this had probably led to the outbreaks in chickens that resulted in the rapid spread of the (virus) through live poultry markets which became the source of human infections.

Study researcher Yi Guan said that many flu viruses do not usually cause people any problems as they spread only through the poultry population and "burn out" in a year or two. This does not seem to be the case however with the H7-type of flu viruses as they persist and can evolve into new forms. Because of this, the scientists claimed that they may "pose threats beyond the current outbreak".

Although this discovery has brought researchers closer to "understanding the pathway to emergence", Dr. Peter Horby from the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam stresses that more research is required to uncover the ecology and source of the H7N9 viruses.

Horby claimed that "the discovery... reminds us that even if H7N9 does not return, there are risks lurking amongst the great diversity of avian influenza viruses".

Since it was first identified in February this year, the H7N9 virus has infected 133 people and claimed 43 lives.



By Genevieve Tan Shu Thung

Copyright © 2013 Sandhya Maarga Holistic Living Resources
Holistic Living Annex (AUGUST 2013)

1 Response for “ New Potential Threat of the H7N7 Bird Flu Strain Discovered”

  1. Anonymous says:

    i really hope these bird flu viruses will come to an end. can't the scientists stop finding out where they come from and just find a cure for it??

     

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