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Friday, July 19, 2013

H7N9 could efficiently spread from human to human someday: study

Via Xinhua, excerpt :

" The H7N9 bird flu virus may be highly transmissible among ferrets, a common animal model for studying how flu might spread in humans, Chinese researchers reported Thursday.

Though H7N9 appears to have been brought under control, the researchers warned in a study published online in the U.S. journal Science that the character of the virus, including its pandemic potential, "remains largely unknown" and that it's possible the virus can efficiently spread between humans eventually.

"We must have material and technical reserves, including policies and measures for possible reemergence of the H7N9 virus in the future, otherwise the virus could hit the world hard," Chen Hualan, director of China's National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, who led the study, told Xinhua by phone.

To investigate the possible origins of the H7N9 viruses that caused human infections, Chen's team collected more than 10,000 samples from poultry markets, poultry farms, wild bird habitats, and poultry and swine slaughterhouses across China from March to May this year."

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