Saturday, June 16

H7N9: The highly lethal new avian flu virus dubbed Disease X UPDATED 10:15 AM ET

I've heard from an expert who's been tracking the virus. He assured me the H7N9 strain is nothing to worry about. It's a shame I didn't think to ask for his analysis BEFORE I posted the Sun report. I've written him back to ask if I could publish his explanation on why he's not worried about Disease X. But right now I'm cross-eyed from lack of sleep and must hit the sack.  


Terrifying new strain of bird flu that kills over a THIRD of those who contract it discovered in China amid fears of new global pandemic

By Mark Hodge
15th June 2018, 3:19 pm
Updated: 15th June 2018, 7:08 pm

The Scottish Sun [U.K.]

A NEW strain of deadly bird flu which kills 38 per cent of those infected and could spark a global pandemic has been identified in China.

Scientists around the world believe the new pathogen, dubbed “Disease X”, could be as lethal as 1918 Spanish flu, which killed up to 100 million people.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England, told The Telegraph that virus H7N9, which is circulating in poultry in China, could cause a global outbreak.

He said: “[H7N9] is an example of another virus which has proven its ability to transmit from birds to humans. It’s possible that it could be the cause of the next pandemic.”

In China, the deadly pathogen has killed 623 of the 1,625 people who've been infected.

[Inset: How to avoid getting bird flu from infected livestock] 

While the virus cannot yet be passed from person to person, experts believe it is only three mutations away from being able to spread from human contact.

The symptoms of H7N9 include a high fever, cough and shortness of breath which can then develop into pneumonia.

Once the disease has developed, those infected develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock and organ failure.

Older people, pregnant women and those with existing health problems are most at risk, according to the World Health Organization.

Bird flu can spread to people when they have direct contact with the infection. This can occur when humans touch dead or alive contaminated birds, their droppings or secretions from their eyes.

Visiting live bird markets in countries that have suffered from avian flu outbreaks is sometimes also a cause for concern.

The NHS explains that “close and prolonged contact with an infected bird is generally required for the infection to spread to humans.


The headline at Drudge Report is wrong; at this point the virus kills 38 percent of the people infected, not 50 percent, but thanks to Drudge for the alert.This is the first I'm learning about the virus. But the statement in the report "Bird flu can spread to people when they have direct contact with the infection" is only correct as far as it goes. 

The virus can also be transmitted across a distance in aerosolized form (droplets carried through the air by coughing, etc.) and on dust motes wafting through the air.

So if/when a virus reassorts ('mutates') to the point where it can be transmitted human to human, one big question is always how easily it can spread.

We'll just have to wait and see what the Disease X virus does. It could always reassort to a less lethal form.


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