H7N9 analysis finds another H7 virus threat

Thursday, August 22, 2013
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
Aug 21, 201

Scientists who closely analyzed and compared virus samples from several poultry species in China found more clues about how the new H7N9 virus, along with a previously unknown H7N7 virus that has the capacity to infect mammals, evolved.

The findings shed new light on the threat H7 viruses might pose beyond China’s latest outbreak, according to the findings reported today by an international research team led by Yi Guan, MD, PhD, a virologist at Hong Kong University. The group’s report appears in the latest issue of Nature.

Soon after news of the first human infections with the new H7N9 virus emerged last spring, investigators started sampling birds in three Chinese cities: two (Wenzhou and Rizhao) that bordered the main outbreak area in Zhejiang and Shandong provinces, respectively, and one (Shenzhen) in Guangdong province, which had not reported a human case.

They collected 1,341 pairs of oropharyngeal and cloacal samples from chickens, ducks, geese, pigeons, partridges, and quail. The team collected 1,006 more fecal and water samples from live poultry markets, farms, and wetlands.

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