There’s a mighty “might” in this, but China Daily is reporting that one person infected with bird flu might have caught the disease from a human host. An investigation by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention is underway:
The family involves two brothers and their 87-year-old father, who died on March 4 and was reportedly China’s first human death from H7N9.
The elder son, who has recovered from the disease, was previously confirmed to have contracted the virus, the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission said on Wednesday at a media briefing.
Although we shouldn’t worry (there’s always a reason to not worry…):
Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist with China CDC, said people infected with H7N9 can transmit the virus within a period of time, in which they could possibly infect others.
“But that’s highly rare and could be limited to within a family,” Feng said, explaining that only genetically vulnerable groups like close family members might be get infected.
The ability of the virus to spread among people is very weak, so transmission cannot spread beyond one person, he added. That belief is based on experience and studies with other bird flu strains such as H5N1.
“People don’t need to panic, because such limited human-to-human transmission won’t prompt a pandemic,” he said.
Michael O’Leary, the World Health Organization’s China representative, agreed and said there is no evidence to date of sustained or efficient human-to-human transmission, which would pose a real risk of a pandemic.
As of yesterday, there were 82 cases of human infections and 17 deaths. Not a pandemic… yet.
Authorities test family infected by H7N9 (China Daily)