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Bird flu map produced

By Tim Sandle     Jun 21, 2014 in Science
Scientists have mapped regions in Asia with the highest risk for transmission and infection of bird flu (of the type H7N9).
The new study suggests that regions in Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines could support spread of the H7N9 strain of influenza in bird populations if the virus were to leave China, where it first appeared. To arrive at this conclusion, an international team analyzed conditions at nearly 9,000 poultry markets in China to predict likely risks at poultry markets across Asia.
The reason for the exercise as discussed by Simon Hay from the University of Oxford, who told BBC News: "H7N9 is confined to China at the moment and all the neighboring countries are worried about when their chicken industry might be infected."
Geographic distribution of predicted H7N9 infection risk
Geographic distribution of predicted H7N9 infection risk
Nature
It is hope that the maps can be used to target surveillance efforts. Regions with a high density of live-poultry markets are at highest risk for the virus becoming endemic among birds and eventually spreading to people, especially within urban areas. Other risks include nearby open water and rice paddies and large populations of domestic ducks and chickens. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which may progress to severe pneumonia. Blood poisoning and organ failure are also possible.
H7N9 is a bird flu strain of the species Influenza virus A (avian influenza virus or bird flu virus). Avian influenza A H7 viruses normally circulate amongst avian populations with some variants known to occasionally infect humans. First identified in March 2013 in China, 433 people have been infected with H7N9. Sixty-two have died.
The report and map appear in the journal Nature Communications, the paper is called "Predicting the risk of avian influenza A H7N9 infection in live-poultry markets across Asia".
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