As the bird flu epidemic grows, scientists have been taking samples of H7N9 for testing, and they’ve found that it’s already mutated in ways similar to past epidemics in Europe. If it isn’t already spreading between humans, this strain, which is extra capable of mutations, will soon be.
And it’s already spread widely. H7N9 has a level of genetic diversity that suggests it’s already managed to spread and mutate quite a bit, and for who knows how long. Pair that with evidence that it may already spread between humans, and that they’ve already found asymptomatic carriers, and that there’s already at least one case outside of China.
H7N9 is most dangerous for the elderly, who make up a majority of reported cases (with only the worst bird flu symptoms being reported). Of those with severe bird flu symptoms, about 1 in 10 die.
The next question is, when will it come to North America/The US? Authorities here have already started stashing away a vaccine, but its efficacy is dependent on if H7N9 mutates before then or not. Flu vaccines are already only about 60% effective, and that gets worse as they mutate.
How closely are you following the H7N9 bird flu outbreak?