Changes to Bird Flu Virus May Make Human Transmission More Likely
Scientific American ------ The H7N9 bird flu virus has influenza scientists on edge, due to an unexpected surge of human infections — hundreds of cases — caused by the virus this spring.Some new scientific findings aren’t likely to ratchet down those concerns. Scientists at the Scripps Institute in La Jolla, Calif., reported Thursday that the accumulation of several mutations in the main gene on the virus’s surface may be able to give H7N9 the ability to spread like human flu viruses do, passing from person to person through coughing and sneezing. The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was published in the journal PLOS Pathogens. Currently H7N9 is a poultry virus, infecting chickens and some other birds in China. Nearly 1,500 people are known to have contracted the virus from contact with chickens since the virus first emerged in 2013, but to date H7N9 hasn’t spread easily among humans. To learn more click on the picture below to read the article.