Tuesday, April 16, 2013

World experts to help China with bird flu investigation

Reuters: An international team of flu experts will go to China this week to help with investigations into the deadly H7N9 virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. The new strain of avian flu has killed 14 among 63 people known to have been infected, but no human-to-human spread of the virus has been confirmed.

"We're still trying to find out more information about the reservoir (of the virus). From what we know at the moment, the poultry markets have been a focus of attention, but the fact-finding mission will be looking into this as a key target of its research," WHO spokesman Glenn Thomas told a regular U.N. news briefing in Geneva.

The team includes four specialists in areas such as emerging viruses, human-to-animal flu viruses and epidemiology, as well as an unspecified number of WHO staff, Thomas said. Another WHO spokesman, Gregory Hartl, said it would be made up of eight people in all....

This transmission electron micrograph (TEM), taken at a magnification of 150,000x, revealed the ultrastructural details of an avian influenza A (H5N1) virion, a type of bird flu virus which is a subtype of avian influenza A. At this magnification, one may note the stippled appearance of the roughened surface of the proteinaceous coat encasing the virion. Photo Credit: Cynthia Goldsmith/ Jackie Katz. Public domain

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