By Katie Nelson
Two people have died and one person is currently in a critical condition following infection with H7N9 avian influenza. These are the first recorded cases of human infection by the H7N9 bird flu, and there is currently no vaccine for the virus.
The three victims range between the ages of 27 and 87 years old, and all initially showed symptoms of fever and coughs which developed into pneumonia, according to a report by the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
The report also said that it is unclear how the three got infected, as no abnormalities were found among their friends and families.
The subtype of H7N9 bird flu virus has not been contracted to human beings before. The virus shows no signs of being highly contagious among humans, according to the clinical observation on the cases’ close contacts.
However, as only three cases of human infection of H7N9 have been found, relatively little research has been done on it. The expert team is working to study the toxicity and human-infection capacity of the virus, according to the commission.
Animal-related infections are nothing new to the residents of China. Past trends have included the original bird flu outbreak of 2005, the less-publicized duck flu virus, which peaked in 2011, and of course, the old reliable swine flu virus, which swept across the nation in 2009 and is still showing cases to this day.