According to reports, Hong Kong confirmed a first human case of H7N9 bird flu on December 2, 2013. The doctors here in Singapore advised the public not to worry for the virus is not that easy to spread from one human to another. For people who are travelling to Hong Kong and other places with reported bird flu virus, they should observe good hygiene and they should keep away from live poultry.
H7N9 is a subtype of the influenza virus. It originates from birds. Normally, it does not infect humans but recently, there have been cases that reported human infections. Here are some things that you need to know about H7N9 bird flu virus:
Spread of infection
The virus is found in China’s poultry. Infections happen when you come in close contact with the infected birds. You should know that infected birds can emit lots of virus in their mucus and droppings. The spread of infection begins when you touch the infected bird or the environment that they live in.
Bird flu is very serious. If you notice or recognize any symptom and you came from China, it is important that you alert the authorities. Symptoms include cough and high fever. There are cases that can progress into ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), severe pneumonia and multiple organ failure than can result to death.
Unfortunately, there are no over-the-counter tests. Here in Singapore, there are test kits that can identify H7 strains but this is only available in health laboratories. The test involves the collection of respiratory tract sample. The sample will be forwarded to health laboratories and after four hours, the result will show.
There is no vaccine that can help you against the new strain of H7N9 virus. The medical field is doing its best to develop a vaccine. But there are medications that can curb the symptoms of the infection. There are antiviral drugs available. Keep in mind that the ordinary flu vaccination will not assist in the defence against H7N9.