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China Reports More Severe Form of Bird Flu

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Albert View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 25 2017 at 6:19am


China Reports More Severe Form of Bird Flu, Threat to Poultry: WHO

Geneva/Beijing. China is working to assess the prevalence of a new strain of H7N9 bird flu, state radio reported on Wednesday (22/02), after global health authorities said the strain had evolved into a more severe form in birds.

So far the variant strain has only been detected in Guangdong province, but given the wide circulation of livestock and poultry in the country, it would be difficult to prevent its spread to other areas, the broadcast said, citing the agriculture ministry.

Until now, the H7N9 virus has shown little or no clinical symptoms in birds, despite being highly pathogenic when it infects human.

But China has detected an evolution in the virus that is capable of causing severe disease in poultry and requires close monitoring, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Samples of the virus taken from two infected humans were injected into birds in a laboratory and became "highly pathogenic" for poultry, it said.

But that designation applies only to birds, not humans, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said, and there is "no evidence that the changes in the virus affect the virus' ability to spread between humans."

A total of 304 new laboratory-confirmed human infections were reported in mainland China between Jan. 19 and Feb. 14, along with 36 deaths, the WHO said in its latest update on Monday.

The evolution of the virus may mean that the disease will become more apparent in some flocks, if birds begin to die off, making detection and control easier.

"This is the first time these changes have been detected. These are the only two cases in Guangdong province, China. So far, there have been no reports if similar changes have occurred elsewhere," Lindmeier said.

"It is a reminder that we have to keep looking closely," he told Reuters.

Any culling carried out in response to the detection of the virus on farms would be compensated, the Chinese report added.

Animal health experts say bird flu infection rates on Chinese poultry farms may be far higher than previously thought, because the strain of the deadly virus in humans is hard to detect in chickens and geese.

In all, since the "fifth wave" of the virus, first identified in 2013, began in October 2016, 425 human cases have been recorded in China, including 73 deaths officially reported by authorities, according to WHO figures.

"Most of these cases had known exposure to poultry or its environment, that is the main important link to this influenza type," Lindmeier told a news briefing.

In all since 2013, there have been 1,200 laboratory-confirmed cases in China, including more than one-third since October, he said.



http://jakartaglobe.id/international/china-reports-severe-form-bird-flu-threat-poultry/
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jacksdad View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2017 at 8:39am
I guess it remains to be seen if this is viable in a larger population of birds, because it would make it easier to track than the asymptomatic strain. I think this serves to remind us that influenza viruses don't like to stand in one place for long, particularly when we seemed determined to help them at every opportunity.

"The Fifth Wave"? That's interesting. I just watched that movie and it didn't end well for us...especially the avian flu part (I kid you not).





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"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2017 at 9:10am
lol... Recently watched it as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2017 at 9:28am
Wink
"Buy it cheap. Stack it deep"
"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2017 at 10:46am
'And it ends with us trying to kill each other.  The Fifth Wave being misled youngsters killing "implanted" humans.  As always it is propaganda which makes us kill...............................Lamp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Shocked
Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2017 at 2:20pm
not a bad movie,

"FOOTFALL" BY BY JERRY POURNEL ,AND HAMMERFALL BY LARRY NIVEN

are both great books about earth disaters,

worth a read for the serious Prepper

all on your Kindle nowWink
12 monkeys!!!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dutch Josh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 25 2017 at 9:52pm
"Only detected in Guangdong province" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guangdong. Guangdong province has a population of 108 million. Borders Hong Kong and Macau, South China Sea. 

Zhong Nanshan said that this mutation has two characteristics: First, the original H7N9 is low pathogenicity, before H7N9 in poultry is not the disease, mainly to cause human disease. And the virus after the mutation will make the incidence of poultry, and was highly pathogenic characteristics. 

Second, there are cases of resistance to Tamiflu (antiviral drugs), recently found in Guangdong, 2 cases of blood inside the patient, upper and lower respiratory tract variant of the virus, and resistance to Tamiflu. 

He said that it is worth noting that the epidemic in mainland China this year, there are two characteristics: First, the number of patients in January than in January last year, a significant increase; the other is a report of the provinces than ever before. 

Kelvin, who researched limited human-to-human transmission cases in Shantou in 2015, said he was alarmed by the rising number of such cases this season.

“We strongly believe H7N9 has the capacity for human-to-human transmission,” Kelvin said in an email, adding it was “alarming” that the H7N9 virus continued to mutate. (DJ; feeding dead birds to pigs increases the risks for further mutations towards mammals-(also in cats and dogs-but it could also spread to wild birds)-weather could effect the virus, maybe spring/summer will slow down the virus ?)

http://www.wpro.who.int/outbreaks_emergencies/H7N9/en/ DJ; The virus is active since early 2013 and mutating, adapting for further spread. So far the birds did not get sick themselves but when humans did get the virus they got sick. 

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-01-upsurge-ah7n9-cases-china-ecdc.html good 2017 h7n9-map

Que sera, sera, Whatever will be, will be, The future is not ours to see, Que sera, sera !
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2017 at 2:24am
Well clearly h7n9 is becoming more virulent in humans and birds, which is a first I've personally ever seen with A/I strains.  And it's picking up steam in number of cases.  This one is definitely a good mutator compared to all the others. 

The question is whether is will mutate beyond the Asian genome and spread outside of Asia.  In that case, it wouldn't need to transmit efficiently between humans to wreak havoc around the world.   For example, it mutates and leaves Asia, and infects birds in the U.S. and elsewhere, which kills people via bird-human transmission, such as in China.

It doesn't need efficient h2h to cause problems.  It just needs to evolve beyond the Asian DNA and slowly spread.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 26 2017 at 8:16am
Yep, this is getting to be one scary bug.
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) was done a long time ago - I wouldn't even consider it in my preps. It's efficacy has been questioned by many over the years, and The Lancet in particular was particularly critical of it. Roche were given a pass on all kinds of regulatory oversight by a frightened world to fast track it's production and sell it in huge numbers, and the only information we had for years was cherry picked from the manufacturer's literature. Having then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, as the former head of Gilead Sciences Inc (the company that first developed Tamiflu, and owned the intellectual rights) didn't exactly hurt sales either.
Tamiflu has been around long enough to give viruses plenty of opportunities to develop resistance. And cheap generic oseltamivir has been used by Chinese farmers for years to prophylactically dose poultry - making it practically worthless now, just as they did with amantadine.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/17/AR2005061701214.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2017 at 11:50am

Human cases of bird flu are surging, alarming public health officials

AFP/GETTY IMAGESAn H7N9 bird flu patient being treated in a hospital in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province.

By HELEN BRANSWELL @HelenBranswell

A

TLANTA — Scientists and public health authorities are expressing alarm about an extraordinary surge in bird flu infections among humans.

The H7N9 bird flu virus, which has sickened and killed several hundred people in China for the past four winters, had seemed over the past couple of years to be diminishing as a threat.

But a resurgent wave of activity this winter has produced more than a third of all infections recorded since the first human case was hospitalized in February 2013. And with this large burst of cases, H7N9 has overtaken another bird flu, H5N1, which has been causing sporadic human infections at least a decade longer than H7N9.

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Changes in the virus are also worrying, said Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s influenza branch. Jernigan noted Tom Price, the new health and human services secretary, has been briefed on the situation.

“We’re concerned about the uncertainties here and the number of changes that are happening at this point. We are monitoring this closely,” Jernigan told STAT.




To date, all of the infections have been contracted in China, although a few cases involved tourists from elsewhere who were infected there.

Overall, 460 of the 1,258 H7N9 cases have been recorded in the latest wave of cases. About a third of people who have been diagnosed with H7N9 have died from their infections — though experts note undetected mild cases are probably occurring, which would lower that case fatality rate.

H7N9 casesWHO

“The situation is not particularly reassuring at the moment in the field,” said Professor Malik Peiris, a virologist in the school of public health at the University of Hong Kong. Peiris, a veteran bird flu researcher, called H7N9 “the most significant pandemic threat currently.”

A CDC risk assessment concurs, placing H7N9 at the top of the list of pandemic threats from among a dozen bird and animal flu viruses.

The way in which the virus has evolved undermines the usefulness of a 12 million-dose emergency stockpile of H7N9 vaccine made for the United States several years ago. That vaccine is now less effective at targeting the strains of the virus that are circulating.

Influenza experts who advise the World Health Organization are meeting this week in Geneva to make recommendations on the flu viruses that should be in next winter’s seasonal flu vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere. They are also likely to recommend that the H7N9 vaccine seed strain — the virus used as a target for companies that make vaccine stockpiles — should be changed due to this evolution.

While the vaccine in the emergency stockpile would likely still offer some protection, “we think that there could be a better vaccine match,” acknowledged Todd Davis, principal investigator on the CDC team that studies flu viruses that infect other mammals and birds.

Another genetic change is also amplifying the sense of anxiety about this virus. The genetic sequences of about a dozen H7N9 viruses from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have mutated in a way that makes them more dangerous for chickens — and perhaps people.

Like all bird flu viruses, H7N9 originated in wild aquatic birds such as ducks. These viruses occasionally make their way into domestic poultry flocks, as H7N9 did. And from there, the viruses can trigger sporadic human infections — generally among people who work in poultry production or who sell or buy live chickens at Asia’s popular so-called wet markets.

Most bird flu viruses don’t kill poultry. They are of low pathogenicity — better known in the flu world as low path viruses. But viruses that carry an H5 or an H7 hemagglutinin protein on their outer shell can be deadly to chickens. The ones that do are called highly pathogenic or high path viruses.

H7N9 has, until now, been a low path virus. But it has long been known that low path H5 and H7 viruses can evolve to become highly pathogenic if they are allowed to circulate among poultry for too long.

The genetic sequences from Guangdong, recently posted in a flu virus database, suggest that has happened there.

While the designations high path and low path relate specifically to how bird flu viruses behave in chickens, it is known that high path viruses, when they infect people, can cause more disseminated disease than human flu viruses, involving organs other than the lungs, Davis said.

Flu experts find these changes unsettling.

“It certainly introduces uncertainty into the mix,” Jernigan said. “Where we kind of thought things were under control and going away, they’ve increased. We thought we had a low path [virus] and it’s now become high path. And so we do want to make sure that all mitigations that can be done will get done.”

In the early days of the H7N9 outbreak, authorities in China enacted strict rules to try to bring spread under control. Markets were ordered to institute clean days, when no chickens could be stored in or brought in. The idea was to stop the virus from circulating among the birds in the markets.

But in parts of the country, enforcement of containment efforts has become more lax as human cases declined in 2015 and 2016, Peiris said.

News that the virus may be evolving to high path status may actually have a beneficial effect, he noted. “Because this would now mean that the agriculture sector would take this much more seriously. Although I must say that the horse is now bolted from the barn and I doubt exactly what can be done to contain it at this stage.”

To date H7N9 has restricted itself to China, though experts fear that may soon change with word that the virus has been found in provinces bordering Vietnam. “I think now Vietnam is under very severe risk,” said Peiris.

There have also been reports that some of the viruses may no longer be susceptible to oseltamivir — sold as Tamiflu — and other flu drugs of the same class. There are few drugs that treat influenza, and if H7N9 became resistant to these drugs, it would be a highly unwelcome development. But the CDC’s Davis said so far it appears that the cases of resistance have involved hospitalized people who were taking the drugs for protracted periods.

Resistance can evolve during treatment, but resistance among viruses that haven’t yet been exposed to the drug would be more alarming, he and Jernigan said.

Scientists at the CDC would like to test virus samples from China to ensure that the flu drugs are still effective. But a disease diplomacy problem is getting in the way of that work.

While China has been reporting cases and sharing the genetic sequences of viruses, it has not shared actual virus samples with the United States since the early days of the H7N9 outbreak, Jernigan said.

Thanks to developments in synthetic biology, genetic sequences can be used to make sample viruses that can tell scientists a lot about how a virus behaves. Still, viral samples would be useful. “Synthetic biology is amazing. But it still takes time,” said Davis.

Jernigan said scientists at the China CDC collaborate openly with their international colleagues. But a green light to share viruses would need to come from other parts of the government. He said efforts are underway to try to open those doors.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Malik Peiris is head of the microbiology department at the University of Hong Kong.

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