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First case of human to human Transmission of H7N9 Bird Flu Virus reported in China

Aug 7, 2013 13:24 IST

The Chinese researchers on 6 August 2013 reported about the first case of the human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 bird flu that has emerged in China.

A 32 year-old-woman was infected with while caring for her father, who was suffering from the virus. The genetic test of the virus samples of the two patients conducted to identify the type of virus also revealed that they were almost identical. This is the first reported case of the human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus, other than its transmission via bird.

Until June 2013, 133 cases of H7N9 bird flu were reported in eastern China along with 43 deaths caused due to the virus.

Scientists and researchers feared for a long time that the virus may mutate itself to a level, where it can create an ability of being transmitted from human-to-human. The report was published in a British Medical Journal.

A report published in the US Journal, Science in its May 2013 edition stated that the H7N9 strain can spread among the mammals, generally ferrets and can also affect the humans under same conditions. The H7 influenza virus generally comprises of a group that circulates among birds and H7N9 forms a subgroup that was never found in Humans, before the Chinese outbreak.

Other bird flu viruses that have resulted in human-to-human transmission include H5N1 and H7N7. None of the two viruses were able to mutate itself into an easily spreadable form.

About H7N9 Bird Flu Virus

H7N9 is a serotype of the species Influenza virus A (Avian Influenza Virus also known as Bird Flu Virus). Avian influenza A H7 viruses normally circulate amongst avian populations with some variants known to occasionally infect humans. An outbreak of human infections with a New Avian Influenza A (H7N9) virus for the first time was reported in China by the World Health Organization on 1 April 2013. The virus was detected in poultry in China as well. Many of the people infected with H7N9 reported contact with poultry.

What is Serotype?
Serotype or serovar is a distinct variation within a species of bacteria or viruses or among immune cells of different individuals.

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