Only two days ago I wrote that there were two steps to watch out for for a possible avian flu pandemic. That is the bird flu outbreak would spread beyond China, and that it becomes confirmed it can spread between humans.

Two days.

And here it is in the news: bird flu symptoms of the H7N9 virus have appeared outside of China’s borders, in Taiwan. Not only that, but 3 of the doctors treating the elderly man who has them have come down with bird flu symptoms (as yet it’s unconfirmed whether it’s bird flu), strongly suggesting that H7N9 is capable of spreading between people, and not just birds-to-people, as earlier strains have.

…”One of the most lethal influenza viruses we have seen so far”… and …”this strain of the virus is more contagious than previous strains were”. Health officials are quick to temper their concern with the fact that much remains unknown, but as the virus continues to spread rapidly, caution is absolutely warranted.

Shanghai and the surrounding areas are heavily populated, and any travellers coming back could be carriers, whether or not they have symptoms.

For those whose symptoms warrant a trip to the emergency room (mostly the elderly), it’s a very deadly strain. Likely, though, there are many more who have mild symptoms or none at all, meaning this thing could spread very quickly.

Are you following the outbreak? What do you think of the possibility of an avian flu pandemic?


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