By Katie Nelson
Image credit @Zanthia
Officials have announced that there is no connection between the floating pigs in the Huangpu River and the H7N9 bird flu virus which has now shown four isolated cases, leaving two people dead.
The Shanghai Animal Disease Prevention and Control Center found no trace of the virus within the 34 tested samples of pig carcasses pulled from the river.
“Bird flu virus can mutate and cause new subtypes, but it has no connection with a pig disease or porcine circovirus,” Dr Lu Hongzhou, vice president of Shanghai Public Health Center, said in a Shanghai Daily report.
Many people were in a tizzy after speculation that the bird flu strain may have been related to the some 16,000 dead pigs recently removed from the river sourcing much of Shanghai’s water supply.
“The mystery is deep, the clock is ticking, and the world wants answers,” a reporter wrote in this Foreign Policy article, which reads something like a horror novel.
The World Health Organization says that human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus is unlikely, though doctors are unsure as to how much the virus may spread.
“A new virus tends to be more virulent in the beginning. Either it is going to become a truly human virus, in which case we have to start dealing with it regularly, or it is going to be primarily an animal virus with just a rare human case,” Dr Michael O’Leary, a WHO representative, said.
In any case, “experts” offered this infallible advice on how to avoid catching the deadly virus:
“Wash your hands, and cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing,” said a report in yesterday’s Oriental Morning Post.
“And avoid eating or contact with dead and diseased livestock.”