H7N9 studies affirm pathogenesis, transmission data

Saturday, August 31, 2013
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
Aug 30, 2013

Chinese research teams yesterday reported new findings about the H7N9 flu virus that reveal more about cytokine patterns seen in severely ill patients and affirm again that the virus has the capacity for airborne transmission in a ferret model.

The studies appeared in an early online edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

In the cytokine study, researchers examined serum samples from 16 patients with lab-confirmed H7N9 infections who were hospitalized in Jiangsu province, one of the areas most affected by the virus, during the height of the epidemic this spring.

Blood samples were collected 6 to 9 days after patients became ill, and researchers compared them with serum samples from healthy people and from those who had mild seasonal H3N2 infections and healthy controls.

Of the H7N9 patients, the mean age was 48.5 years, and nine were men. Eleven patients had underlying illnesses, and fever and lower respiratory tract symptoms were the most common clinical findings. Eleven received antivirals, eight got corticosteroids, and five were treated with immunomodulators before they were sampled. Thirteen patients had severe disease, and five of them died.

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