WHO monitoring H7N9 bird flu

New strain of bird flu in China not yet cause for panic

April 8, 2013

Three new cases of the new bird flu, strain H7N9, have been reported in China, bringing the total number of cases to 21, according to the World Health Organization. The death toll stands at six.

More than 530 close contacts of the H7N9 patients are being monitored, according to the WHO.

Shanghai”s Agricultural Commission said authorities ordered the slaughter of 98,000 birds and incinerated the poultry to prevent spread of the disease.

The government of Guangdong province have earmarked an initial $4.76 million to prevent and control the avian flu and for treatment of low-income people who become infected.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is already working on a vaccine according to Nancy Cox, head of the CDC’s influenza division. Although H7N9 is more easily transmittable from birds to humans than the original bird flu strain, H1N1, Cox said she expects to see limited human-to-human transmission.

“So far, we really only have sporadic cases of a rare disease, and perhaps it will remain that way. So this is not a time for over-reaction or panic,” said WHO representative Michael O’Leary.

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