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BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Message Board

  • jack_hemmer_rides_on jack_hemmer_rides_on Apr 9, 2013 12:54 PM Flag

    TUESDAY, April 9 (HealthDay News) -- At this point, there's no reason to believe

    that the emerging H7N9 strain of bird flu that has sickened at least 24 people and killed seven in China is cause for alarm, health officials in the United States say.

    For one thing, no cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus have yet been reported -- a necessary precursor to a full-blown pandemic.

    "This is very early in the course of identification of human cases," said Dr. John Midturi, assistant professor of internal medicine at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, in Temple.

    "We do see something similar every few years with avian [bird] flu," added Richard Webby, a member of the department of infectious diseases at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.

    But this year's strain does seem a little different.

    "What's making everyone a little bit more uneasy is that, looking at the sequence of the virus, it appears to have some mutations we think may indicate that the virus might have increased its ability to replicate in humans," Webby said.

    But for now, there's no proof of that ability, he cautioned, and the genetic sequence of the virus would still need to change for it to pass easily from person to person.

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