China reported this week the nation is assessing a new strain of avian influenza, H7N9, which officials report has evolved into a more severe form in birds. The outbreak of the more severe strain is localized in a single province in China, but given the livestock production within the nation, Chinese officials report preventing the spread of the new strain would be difficult, according to Reuters. Until now, the H7N9 virus has shown little or no clinical symptoms in birds, despite being highly pathogenic when it infects humans. 304 human infections were reported over the last month in China. The World Health Organization said this week China has detected an evolution in the virus that is capable of causing severe disease in poultry and requires close monitoring. Animal health experts say bird flu infection rates on Chinese poultry farms may be far higher than previously thought, because the strain of the deadly virus in humans is hard to detect in chickens and geese.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting news service.