Scientists examining the bird flu strain that recently killed two men in China said Wednesday that the virus is more difficult to track than its better-known cousin H5N1 because it appears to spread silently among poultry without notice.
“The H7N9 virus seems troubling because it can generate no symptoms in poultry while seriously sickening humans.” They said the virus, previously known to have infected only birds, appears to have mutated, giving it the ability to easily infect other animals, which could act as carriers spreading the virus more readily among humans.
H7N9 is considered a low pathogen strain that is not easily contracted by people but Scientists are keeping a close watch on this new strain fearing it may change and become easier to spread among humans, possibly sparking a pandemic.
Dr. Masato Tashiro, director of the World Health Organization’s influenza research center in Tokyo stated “The tentative assessment of this virus is that it may cause human infection or epidemic. It is still not yet adapted to humans completely, but important factors have already changed”.
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