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Bird Flu Spreads in China

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say Flu season is over in the United States, but in China, new flu related problems are emerging.

On April 1, 2013 a new strain of bird flu, H7N9, was identified in the World’s most populous country. Human Infections have appeared in at least four different provinces in China. As of April 9, 2013, 24 cases are confirmed. Seven people are dead.

There is some good news: so far, there is no sign of person to person spread. The CDC says most of the infected people had direct contact with live poultry. The virus is still being tested, but experts believe the strain is from chickens and pigeons. Eating poultry does NOT increase risk.

No cases have been identified in the United States, but the CDC is warning physicians to be on alert. There is a diagnostic test. No formal travel advisories have been issued, but it is always a good idea to check the CDC website before any international travel. If you do plan travel to China soon, it might also be wise to ask your doctor for an antiviral flu prescription to take with you in case you get sick.

If you have recently been in countries, including China, where human cases of H7N9 bird flu have been detected, be sure to let your doctor know if you have any flu-like symptoms, such as fever, muscle aches, and headaches. If so, get tested immediately.
The CDC and the World health organization are both continuing to monitor this outbreak closely. Please check their websites for updates.