H7N9 – Awareness can keep you Healthy

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Heightened Concern After First Reported Case Of Human To Human H7N9 Bird Flu Transmission

Article:

A new report published August 6 in the journal BMJ, likely details the first human-to-human case of transmission of the deadly H7N9 bird flu in eastern China.

Based on reports thus far, the virus first killed a 60 year old man who was exposed to live poultry followed by his 32 year old daughter, reported to have been previously in good medical condition while caring for him.

However, many other people who were apparently exposed to the two affected persons did not become ill. As a result, the conclusion based on these findings so far is that H7N9 is likely capable of limited transmission, as opposed to sustained transmission at this time.

What this means is that transmission is not sustainable: the virus has made one leap from poultry to humans, but has not been able to then leap from person to person. If it does gain the ability to do this, this could potentially lead to a pandemic. We are not there yet, but caution is certainly needed at this time. Read More from Forbes

Analysis:

As public health officials around the world monitor the status of H7N9 influenza, that strain and others continue their evolution.  The very nature of the influenza virus is that it is constantly changing, emerging in a particular host then evolving so it can infect another animal – or human.

The danger increases when human-to-human transmission becomes routine.

The flu is communicable before symptoms emerge

Someone who has been exposed can infect others before anyone knows the illness is present.  How then, do we prepare for a disease that can be deadly before it is evident?  Maintaining health is a first step.  Proper diet, rest, and exercise are perennial good advice.  Health authorities strive to produce vaccines against the prevalent strains of influenza each year, staying current with immunizations enhances protection.  Awareness can keep you healthy, your family safe, and your business vital. 

Travel to a region where H7N9– or any other infectious disease – is present or visits from such a region should prompt subsequent monitoring for flu-like symptoms.  Signs of sickness should prompt a visit to a physician. 

Knowing how and when to avoid exposure, and what to do if it occurs, can be life-saving.

 

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