Another strain of bird flu has mutated it’s way to infecting humans. H7N9 has infected 3 people in China—2 are dead, 1 is getting worse.
So far, there are no signs of human to human transmission—they are three isolated cases, and no one else has gotten sick through contact. But, there’s also no clear indication of how/where the flu infected them. The H7N9 bird flu strain must already be spread out among birds to have created 3 separate cases with no clear link.
A Roll Of The Dice
Bird flu is on the cusp of being airborne—that is to say, of having human to human transmission. Whether it mutates on its own or combines with another flu strain, like one of the strains of swine flu, is almost irrelevant at this point. Both paths are right on the cusp. Any new mutation could be the one that kicks it into a pandemic.
Governments have stashed away flu vaccines for such an event, but they will only be close, and not spot on, to whichever strain takes hold. That means they won’t be very effective.
If you’re travelling to Southeast Asia, make sure to take precautions—don’t go near live birds, and do all standard flu prevention: wash hands, etc. You may consider wearing a face mask when in the airport.
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