Monday, June 24, 2013

New Bird Flu Found to Be Less Deadly Than First Estimated #H7N9

The H7N9 strain of bird flu that has killed 38 people in China since March is less deadly than had been supposed, according to the most detailed analysis of the outbreak so far.

The risk of death for patients admitted to a hospital with H7N9 infection is about 36 percent, researchers at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Hong Kong wrote in The Lancet medical journal today. While initial reports of severe illness among most patients suggested the virus may be highly lethal, as many as about 27,000 undetected mild cases may have occurred, lowering the risk, the study said.

Still, H7N9 is only about half as deadly as the H5N1 bird flu strain that has killed about 60 percent of the 630 people it’s infected since 2003, the researchers wrote. The new virus, which has subsided with the onset of warmer weather and the closure of live bird markets in China, may rebound this year if it follows a similar pattern to H5N1, they said in a separate study.


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