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Complex Insight  - Understanding our world
News and notes on complex systems in life sciences, engineering, education and government
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Influenza: A viral world war

Influenza: A viral world war | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
The 1918 influenza pandemic probably infected one-third of the world's population at the time — 500 million people. It killed between 50 million and 100 million; by contrast, Second World War deaths numbered around 60 million. Why is this catastrophe

Via Ed Rybicki, Chris Upton + helpers
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Bird Flu: H7N9 Infection Risk Mapped

Bird Flu: H7N9 Infection Risk Mapped | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

There have been 131 cases of infection confirmed cases of H7N9 in mainland China with 39  deaths. A lack of information about the virus and its mode of transmission  led to public concerns that H7N9 could be a pandemic waiting to happen.A map of avian influenza (H7N9) risk is now available. The map is comprised of bird migration patterns, and adding in estimations of poultry production and consumption, which are used to infer future risk and to advise on ways to prevent infection.

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Professor Jiming Liu who led the study explained, "By basing our model on wild bird migration and distribution of potentially infected poultry we are able to produce a time line of the estimated risk of human infection with H7N9. The preliminary results of our study made a prediction of bird flu risk which could explain the pattern of the most recent cases. By extending the model we will be able to predict future infection risks across central and western China, which will aid in surveillance and control of H7N9 infections. Since the effect of poultry-to-poultry infection is not really understood it may become necessary to regulate the activity of poultry markets. To learn more click on the image or title.

 

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The Elusive H7N9 Virus: Chinese Researchers Predict Future Pandemic

Since February 2013, China experienced an outbreak of the novel H7N9 avian flu, causing 131 cases of infection, and a death toll of 39. his particular H7N9 strain is considered to be one of the most worrisome pathogens since the H5N1 pandemic in 1997; a reputation based on the virus’ ability to spread easily across species and to infect humans

ComplexInsight's insight:

With any emergent strain of flu - there is always concern. H7N9 is making headlines because unlike the H5N1 breakout in 1997, where birds died from infection and dead birds indicated presense of H5N1, H7N9 does not appear to harm the host but can infect humans. H7N9 has been shown to infect the upper respiratory tract of pigs and ferrets follow contact with infected birds. This las led to the conclusion so far that human cases exist as a result of direct contact with infected birds. What is unclear at this point if H7N9 (or some future evolution of it) will efficiently transfer from human to human. Until this is demonstrated talk of potential future pandemic needs to be carefully measured.  Scientists are now examining how the immmune systems of ducks respond to avian influenza might point the way to new antiviral drugs against H5N1, H7N9, and other avian flu outbreaks in humans. 

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