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CDC - H7N9: Frequently Asked Questions (Sep 2014)

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  • CDC - H7N9: Frequently Asked Questions (Sep 2014)

    What is H7N9?

    ?H7N9? is the designation for one subtype of influenza viruses that is sometimes found in birds, but that does not normally infect humans. Like all influenza A viruses, there also are different strains of H7N9. Beginning at the end of March 2013, China reported human and bird (poultry) infections with a new strain of H7N9 that is very different from previously seen H7N9 viruses. . . .

    Is infection with this virus serious?

    Most of the reported cases of human infection with this virus have had very serious illness. There also are reports of some milder illness and one possible report of a person who tested positive for the virus who did not have any symptoms.

    What are the symptoms of illness with this virus?

    Symptoms have started with high fever and cough. A lot of the cases have progressed to very serious illness, including severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), septic shock and multi-organ failure leading to death.

    Is it possible that this virus will spread from person-to-person?

    Yes. Based on what we know about human infections with other bird flu viruses, it?s possible and even likely that there will be some limited person-to-person spread with this virus. The important factor will be to determine whether this virus gains the ability to spread easily from one person to another. Sustainable human to human spread is needed for a pandemic to start. Health officials are watching the situation closely for this.

    Is there a vaccine to protect against this new H7N9 virus?

    No, right now there is no vaccine to protect against this virus. CDC and others are working to develop a vaccine candidate virus that could be used to make a vaccine if it is needed.

    Are there medicines to treat illness associated with this virus?

    CDC recommends oseltamivir (Tamiflu?) and zanamivir (Relenza?) for treatment of H7N9. Most of the H7N9 viruses that have been studied are likely susceptible (sensitive) to the two influenza antiviral drugs that are used to treat seasonal flu. Those drugs are oseltamivir (Tamiflu?) and zanamivir (Relenza?) (neuraminidase inhibitors). Like seasonal influenza viruses, avian A(H7N9) viruses are resistant to the influenza antiviral drugs known as the adamantanes.
    It?s important to note that influenza viruses may acquire genetic changes which can make one or more influenza antiviral drugs less effective. This happens with seasonal influenza viruses and could happen with H7N9 viruses found in China. As new H7N9 virus isolates are received, CDC will conduct ongoing testing to determine the susceptibility of other H7N9 viruses to existing antiviral drugs. More information about antiviral resistance is available at Influenza Antiviral Drug Resistance: Questions & Answers.

    What is the risk from this virus in the United States right now?

    No cases of human or bird infection with this H7N9 virus have been detected in the United States. At this time, the risk to people in the United States is considered to be low. . . . .

    More Information and links available at: