Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bird flu: how bad is the new H7N9 strain?

04 April, 2013
Earlier this week, a bird flu virus never before found in humans grabbed world attention after it infected and killed people in China. Scientists have since been scrambling to understand how it happened and, more importantly, whether it poses a risk to public health or could potentially spark a global pandemic.
The good news is that so far there’s no sign that the H7N9 virus is spreading from person to person, but experts say it has mutated in a way that has caused concern. Here are the answers to some questions to help explain what’s known about the strain and why it matters:

What is the H7N9 virus and what do we know about it?  ...
How concerned should the public be about the H7N9 virus?...
Is there a vaccine?...
What changes are scientists seeing in the virus and why is this important?  

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