Can you die from the H7N9 bird flu virus?

  • Is this strain of bird flu deadly?

Most previous H7 infections have resulted in conjunctivitis and mild upper respiratory symptoms, but there has been one confirmed death.

Chinese authorities have reported six deaths resulting from the H7N9 virus. Other symptoms include severe pneumonia, fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

  • How can humans catch it?

H7 influenza viruses tend to infect birds but there have been some cases of birds infecting humans, most recently in China.

The most likely cause of H7N9 transmission is from birds to animals, since in most cases the humans had contact with birds. Human-to-human transmission is still a possibility.

  • Is this like previous outbreaks of bird blu?

Other strains of bird flu, such as H5N1, have been circulating for many years and can be transmitted from bird to bird, and bird to human, but not generally from human to human.

The number of confirmed cases is still very low compared to H5N1 and H1N1 outbreaks.

(Source: World Health Organisation)

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