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#259045 - 04/13/13 06:35 PM H7N9 flu on the move
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Anyone else following the H7N9 flu outbreak in China? I'm surprised that it isn't getting more attention because it's actually rather worrisome although we're still in the very early stages of the outbreak. Your average Chinese person is pretty worried about it already. One Chinese-American person here I know has already cancelled her trip to China in May in anticipation of trouble.

H7N9 is a bird flu, like the H5N1 bird flu that we've been warned about for almost a decade now. Like H5N1, it's highly lethal to people if you catch it. But H5N1 has remained a bird flu and is hard for people to catch. It hasn't mutated into a form that is more adapted to people, so it hasn't posed an urgent pandemic risk.

However, in a very short time, we're already seeing H7N9 strains that are adapting to people. Scientists have already experimented with H5N1 in the lab to see what kinds of genes will make a human pandemic flu, and from what I've read, wild H7N9 has already acquired one of two genes that will allow it to spread easily among people.

The outbreak started in Shanghai with a few dozen known cases, but the first case (a child) just popped up in Beijing, 600-700 miles away. Officially, there hasn't been any human-to-human transmission, but I think at least some of them were passed from human-to-human. So in a short time, H7N9 is evolving in a way that we've been dreading with H5N1 for many years.

The known numbers are small so far, but at the moment, it is 90% fatal. If it ever (and hopefully it does NOT) become easily transmissible, it can go from small numbers to exponentially increasing numbers very quickly.

H1N1 never worried me that much since it wasn't that deadly to adults in the US, but this does worry me. It's not here in the US, but might be something to be aware of down the road. We just came out of a worse than average flu season, so many of us are aware of how easily it can spread and how awful even a normal case of the flu can be.

As the weather warms up, maybe one of the best preps for this spring is to get yourself healthy with good food, lot's of sunshine (want to boost vitamin D levels from sun exposure) and physical activity to keep that immune system healthy.

#259060 - 04/13/13 07:42 PM Re: H7N9 flu on the move [Re: Arney]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2730
Loc: Alberta, Canada
I've been hearing rumblings about this too. We dodged the bullet the last time so a lot of people became cynical, mostly because of the breathless media hype. But it's still entirely possible for one of these strains to mutate and take hold in the human population. When is anybody's guess.

Edited by dougwalkabout (04/13/13 07:43 PM)

#259065 - 04/13/13 08:41 PM Re: H7N9 flu on the move [Re: Arney]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077

Pandemic H7N9 flu would probably be much like a nuclear bomb exploding, not much you can do about except not to be around when it goes off.

The disease vector is other folks. Staying away from the crowds is the key so just bug out to areas where there isn't any other folks. Planning for 3+ to 6 months at the BOL would be probably be required.

Getting out of the City could prove to be difficult though when marshal law restrictions to movement are enforced.

#259069 - 04/13/13 10:00 PM Re: H7N9 flu on the move [Re: Arney]
spuds Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/24/12
Posts: 822
Loc: SoCal Mtns
Flu makes a good story,when it happens THEN I'll worry.....they cry wolf every year,someday it will happen and they will be right,until then YAAAWNNNN!!!

I have masks,doesnt matter,I work in a hospital so will be exposed period,and first world countries have high tech supportive care not found in 3rd world so until a 1918 outbreak,we are fine.

There are plenty other diseases out there that scare me a lot more if went pandemic.

Thats my take

#259071 - 04/13/13 10:24 PM Re: H7N9 flu on the move [Re: Arney]
frediver Offline

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 213
Loc: N.Cal.
The only reason the 1918 flu stopped was that no one was left TO infect.
IIRC only a couple pacific islands dodged that bullet due to remoteness of there location. IMO camping for 6months will only mean you catch it on the 2nd or 3rd. go'round.

#259091 - 04/14/13 01:18 PM Re: H7N9 flu on the move [Re: Arney]
ILBob Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 02/05/10
Posts: 776
Loc: Northern IL
A flu that so few manage to acquire even if it really is 90% fatal is not much of a threat as a pandemic.
Warning - I am not an expert on anything having to do with this forum, but that won't stop me from saying what I think. smile


#259092 - 04/14/13 04:24 PM Re: H7N9 flu on the move [Re: ILBob]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: ILBob
A flu that so few manage to acquire even if it really is 90% fatal is not much of a threat as a pandemic.

Remember recently that two separate groups of scientists artificially mutated the H5N1 flu strain in their labs to make it easily transmissible in mammals? And the government blocked the publication of their research because they considered the information too dangerous? Well, H7N9 is halfway to acquiring the mutations that the scientists found would make it easily transmissible.

A disease that spreads easily but kills 90% of the infected would burn out very quickly and not be a "good" pandemic disease. Anyone remember the mortality from Spanish Flu? Only three percent. Just three percent! So H7N9 can weaken dramatically and still be the worst thing since the Spanish Flu.

Although the numbers are small on an absolute scale, they are increasing rapidly. Since yesterday, the number of cases has increased by 20%. And the geographic area that the cases are coming from is expanding.

#259093 - 04/14/13 04:30 PM Re: H7N9 flu on the move [Re: frediver]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: frediver
The only reason the 1918 flu stopped was that no one was left TO infect.

Experts estimate that only about a third of humanity was infected by the Spanish Flu.

That doesn't say anything about the rest. Were they immune somehow or just lucky to avoid exposure? We don't know.

Remember some of these ridiculous sounding potential mortality estimates when H1N1 swine flu was starting to go pandemic? Well, take the world's population, take a third of that, and then multiply by 3%. That's roughly the Spanish Flu's experience translated to today's global population.

#259096 - 04/14/13 05:52 PM Re: H7N9 flu on the move [Re: Arney]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Influenza is an area that I don't know enough, but neither does the general public which means general discussions are prone to misinformation and panic, which I don't do well. I can say this

Comparisons to the Spanish flu pandemic are apples and oranges: you are comparing societies based upon 19th century medicine to our current one with 21st century capabilities of detection and treatment. The Chinese have already published genetic profiles and health organizations are already producing candidate vaccinations. In 1918 they hardly knew what those things were.

Watch for evidence of sustained human to human transmission - one to many. By then it will be nearly too late to isolate yourself, but that's when you will know to 'panic.'. meantime it may be prudent to stock up on food and necessities to sustain you through your chosen public contact. Remember that pandemics are like tsunamis, they come in a sequence of waves over time, with a variety of lethality and probably a good chance of immunity provided by the initial ones. You never know which wave could getcha.

#259097 - 04/14/13 06:02 PM Re: H7N9 flu on the move [Re: Arney]
Brangdon Offline

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
Originally Posted By: Arney
The known numbers are small so far, but at the moment, it is 90% fatal.
References? According to Io9, it's infected 16 people and killed 6. A more recent report from Forbes says it has infected 60 and killed 13. When does the 90% fatality come from?

In general terms, a pandemic is one of the few threats that has a chance of affecting me in the UK. This one is still too low-level to require specific action, other than as a reminder.
Quality is addictive.

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