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Published On: Fri, Apr 12th, 2013

Five additional H7N9 avian influenza cases reported, researchers examine the genetics of the virus

Chinese authorities with the National Health and Family Planning Commission informed the World Health Organiztion today of five additional cases of human H7N9 avian influenza,  three from Zhejiang and two from Shanghai, bringing the total to 43 cases, according to a WHO update April 12.

Public domain image/Ben Rudiak-Gould

Public domain image/Ben Rudiak-Gould

According to the update, the first patient is a 66-year-old man from Zhejiang who became ill on 8 April 2013, the second patient is a 74-year-old man from Zhejiang who became ill on 6 April 2013, the third patient is a 54-year-old woman from Zhejiang who became ill on 6 April 2013, the fourth patient is a 53-year-old man from Shanghai who became ill on 3 April 2013, and the fifth patient is an 86-year-old man from Shanghai who became ill on 3 April 2013.

To date there has been 11 fatalities due to the novel viral disease.

The WHO says at this time there is no evidence of ongoing human-to-human transmission.

H7N9 avian influenza and novel coronavirus: Is there a pandemic potential?

However, at least two papers published this week looked at the genetics of H7N9 and found that it is better adapted than other avian influenza viruses to infecting mammals.

In a “Perspective” published in the New England Journal of Medicine Thursday, researchers say the presence of certain proteins present with H7N9 that are associated with mammalian adaptation and respiratory-droplet transmission.

In another study published in Eurosurveillance Thursday, researchers say that avian influenza A(H7N9) viruses possess several characteristic features of mammalian influenza viruses, which are likely to contribute to their ability to infect humans and raise concerns regarding their pandemic potential.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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