H7N9 avian flu cases taper off

Although the number of H7N9 cases has slowed in recent weeks, many of those infected continue to battle the illness.

Some experts believe the closure of live poultry markets could be reason for the slow down, although others have suggested H7N9 could be decreasing as summer arrives, something that has been seen with other avian flu viruses, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).

Since the beginning of May, only four new cases have been reported, according to Nature. However, no new cases have been reported from Shanghai since April 20 – the original location of the infections.

So far, 131 cases of H7N9 have been confirmed and 36 people have died, mainly in China. After it was first detected, Chinese authorities shut down live poultry markets, culled thousands of birds and stepped up monitoring, hoping to stop the spread. Fears of the virus also hit China’s poultry industry hard, with several countries placing temporary bans on the import of Chinese poultry.

So far, Chinese authorities haven’t found the virus on poultry farms. It has, however, been found in a small number of live poultry markets and wholesalers, CIDRAP notes.

Read Neogen blog’s H7N9 coverage here.

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