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The Lancet Infect Dis. The world waits for H7N9 to yield up its secrets

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  • The Lancet Infect Dis. The world waits for H7N9 to yield up its secrets

    [Source: The Lancet Infectious Diseases, full text: (LINK). Extract.]
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Early Online Publication, 14 May 2013

    doi:10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70132-4

    The world waits for H7N9 to yield up its secrets

    Original Text

    David Holmes


    As the number of cases and deaths caused by influenza A H7N9 in China continue to rise, David Holmes takes a look at some of the key gaps in our knowledge. At the time of writing (May 8), 131 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A H7N9 virus, including 32 deaths, have been reported to WHO. “Unusually dangerous” is WHO's slightly unnerving description of the virus, and there is widespread acknowledgement that were this to become a pandemic strain, the death toll would be far greater than the most recent influenza pandemic caused by H1N1. The mortality rate is high, at more than 20%, with the virus rapidly causing lung damage, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and in some cases multiorgan failure after initial symptoms appear. Well over half of cases have needed intensive treatment. But just how dangerous we can expect “unusually dangerous” to be will only become apparent after virologists and epidemiologists have filled in some of the gaping holes in what we know about H7N9.

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