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One-Year Update on H7N9 Flu in China Finds No Definite Human-to-Human Spread — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
February 6, 2014

One-Year Update on H7N9 Flu in China Finds No Definite Human-to-Human Spread

By Joe Elia

In the year since avian influenza A(H7N9) appeared in China, there have been no definite cases of human-to-human transmission, although it cannot be ruled out, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.

As of Dec. 1, 2013, 139 cases had been confirmed, according to the China CDC. Most occurred among city dwellers and were associated with exposure to live chickens. Almost all patients were hospitalized, and the case fatality rate was 34%.

Over 2500 close contacts (excluding four family clusters) all tested negative for the virus. Investigation of the family clusters could not rule out person-to-person spread.

In an editorial postscript to the paper, NEJM's editors note that 65 more cases have been identified "in this ongoing outbreak" since Dec. 1.

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