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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is a virus worth watching. It has never been found in humans before and therefore we totally lack immunity. It mutates at a rate of 8 times greater than regular influenza. Thus far, it appears to either not be very contagious human to human or else we don't have a good grasp on how many are infected and don't get seriously ill. It's not spreading like wildfire, yet, but, it's an interesting germ. They are not sure what the reservoir of the disease is. Birds do carry the germ, but appear well. The germ has mutated to exist in mammals. As of this morning 38 people in 5 provinces were infected and 10 died. 11 are in critical condition most on ventilators and some on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and dialysis, as well. I believe only 1 person, a child has been discharged from the hospital. Some patients have not had contact with birds. A few patients are stable. It is resistant to Tamiflu and partially resistant to Relenza. Most patients were given immune globulin. The level of care given in China actually appeared quite sophisticated. No vaccine exists for birds or humans, and likely a human vaccine won't be developed for 7 months. As things stand, it is NOT spreading like crazy, but, it bears watching due to its mutagenicity and mankind's lack of immunity. It appears to take 5 to 10 days from first symptoms to severe illness. Incubation period is not yet known. No cases have been reported outside of China at this point.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/12/w...ed-on-3-who-died-from-h7n9-bird-flu.html?_r=0
 

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Thanks for posting on this, IngaLisa! Very helpful to read your updates. Keeping a watchful eye on this new deadly strain of mutagenic virus.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have been watching this for about two weeks, and the Chinese CDC and later WHO would post daily new cases and fatalities. China did detain 10 bloggers for 'posting lies', so, the information coming from China now versus two weeks ago, is paltry. Today, WHO announced they will not give further daily updates. I am not sure what the Chinese CDC will do. Cases proven by nucleic testing stand at 40, and there have been 11 deaths as of today at 5pm in China (our morning). The last blog post I saw, said hospitals are seeing a rush of admissions of children, which doesn't surprise me, as parents all over the world are generally very protective of kids. I will try to find more on the virus as much as I can. Mainstream media is very slow to report on it. Right now, for the near future, I do not think it poses any major danger here, but, as I said, it mutates very fast. It bears watching. NCoV (Novel Corona Virus) is also a slow mover, but also bears watching.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Today's stats from China, 49 confirmed cases, 11 deaths. Still no solid information on disease reservoirs. Appears to be birds, but virus is adapted to mammals. Several family member clusters are identified, but, it is impossible to say if it is human to human or if they were simultaneously exposed environmentally.

It's interesting to ponder, if H7N9 is geographically all over China, how could North Korea avoid having cases? They are pretty close the way the bird flies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update: 60 cases, 13 dead. For strictly avian influenza, bird to human, it is racking up fairly sizeable numbers pretty fast. (It was 49/11 at bedtime for me.) Something else is going on IMHO. If this doesn't die down in the next two weeks, we have a problem.
 

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Can you imagine if H7N9 were to get into the Canada geese population? In my area it could be disastrous the way they live among us with impunity.
 

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10 new cases in 24 hours with two deaths in the same time period in a country as crouded as China doesn't seem that alarming to me. If it begins to spread exponentially then it would be something to be concerned about. If the increase case number doubles in a twenty-four hour period and the deaths with it then it would be alarming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
It's geographical spread is troubling. It's occurring in many provinces now. Very widespread. Most crowded countries like Cambodia, see maybe 140 at most cases of H5N1 in one year. In China, we are seeing 60 H7N9 infections in a matter of 8 weeks with a sharp increase recently. Bird flu is generally a very slow spreader and seldom is the bird flu as adaptable to mammals as is H7N9. H7N9 is very different from other avian influenzas. I am not culling my poultry yet, but, I will be doing some additional precautions to prevent as much migratory bird contact as I can. It's not time to panic, it's time to ponder.
 

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I am very concerned was thinking the other day maybe i need to cut chicken out on my meals and be vegetarian . i don't like beef or pork so chicken. is all i eat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I don't think you need to cut chicken or eggs out of your diet. H7N9 would not be the reason to do that. H7N9 is adapting to mammals as well. Unless you live in China, in an area affected by H7N9, I don't think you have much to fear. H7N9 is dangerous in terms of pandemic, IF, and this is a big IF it develops human to human transmission. There is some reason to be concerned it may do this, because unlike other avian influenza viruses, H7N9 appears to have a very high mutation rate, and already possesses gene segments that contribute to adaptability to infecting mammals. I raise poultry at my little farm, and I have no plans other than to try to keep them more isolated from migratory birds. If H7N9 continues to spread, I will isolate them completely from the environment and use precautions when I enter their containment. If it enters my region, I will cull them. I would say at this point, unless you live in or around the involved provinces in China, don't be afraid. That said, we are overdue for a pandemic, and it should be included in your prep plans.

Given that H7N9 has been stealthy in chickens, I will use precautions next time I butcher chickens. I will use a mask and goggles, which is something I never did before. Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, the virus would be dead.

The danger of H7N9 is only in its potential to mutate, and the severe disease which it causes. If it develops human to human, or if it affects many breeds of migratory birds to which we all have contact, then we have a huge problem. H7N9 has infected a lot of people in a short period of time compared to other avian influenza, but most people in China have a lot of contact with live poultry, poultry butchering, as well as keeping other live birds in their crowded living conditions. All of SE Asia has the same relationship with poultry. I am a big believer of raising poultry in the small farm environment, versus a CAFO. I think we would have less avian influenza if we did that, but, raising chickens and other poultry in crowded city conditions and butchering live chickens at a market and mixing poultry from many situations is a recipe for developing new germs. I won't even go to the county fair chicken barns and then go into my own coop without cleaning myself, my clothing and shoes. It's best to only enter your own coop with a specially designated set of clothes, especially boots.

If you enjoy chicken, keep eating it, just don't buy it live from a market where they butcher it right on the street. Stay out of live poultry markets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
103 confirmed cases, 20 dead, no disease reservoir identified. New mutations continue to be identified. 40% of cases have had no contact with poultry. One asymptomatic carrier was identified. No indication, as of yet, of substantial human to human transmission, however, it does have the genetic profile to accomplish this.
 

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IngaLisa - I have been following your thread since you started it. I greatly appreciate the info. But could you please define a couple of your terms because I have no idea what they mean:

Disease reservoir

Asymptomatic carrier

What are these? Is this bad or good? Sorry for being an idiot, but this seems important and I do not want to miss some critical point because I do not understand the vocabulary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh, I am sorry. My background is in public health, as a public health nurse, so, I just assume folks know the terms. I apologize. You are not an idiot, at all. My mistake. A reservoir, is basically, which species is carrying and spreading the disease. Usually in bird flu, they are able to find large numbers of certain birds that carry the virus. This time they can't. The number of birds that they are finding infected, are low. Birds do not appear to be getting sick from H7N9 either, making it even harder to figure out which breed of bird could carry it. It is also a 'mammalized' virus, meaning it has mutated well enough to survive in humans and even to go from human to human. It just hasn't spread human to human very fast....yet. The reservoir could be mice, rats, bats, pigeons, pigs or people. We don't know. It's odd for it to take this long to find out.

An asymptomatic carrier, is some one who has tested positive for H7N9, but remained healthy for some reason. We have only one case of this so far, and it is a 4 year old boy. It is possible he shed the virus to others, OR, perhaps he did not. We do not know. There could be more asymptomatic carriers. Think of Typhoid Mary. She never was sick but she shed the germ and others got sick.

H7N9 has the potential to be very dangerous, because humans have never had this virus before, and we lack immunity. So far, if caught early, it seems to respond to Tamiflu and Relenza, however it carries genes to make it resistant to both of these drugs. Add global travel to this, it is a recipe for disaster.

All cases have pretty much required enormous efforts in ICU to keep them alive. This could not be maintained in a pandemic. We only have a few ventilators per hospital. They required extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines (which are heart-lung bypass machines), artificial liver and dialysis. We have very few of these machines. In a pandemic, we would not have resources to treat people that needed that kind of care.

I have seen avian influenzas burn out. It happens. Let's hope for the best. H5N1 is still out there too, and it is very dangerous as well, but it seems more linked to poultry, and it has not ever spread human to human, yet.

Right now, about 20% of those diagnosed, die. I doubt it will stay that bad, I feel the mortality rate will drop to maybe 10% as more get it. I feel there are cases out there, where people survive, and are not diagnosed. We can't really say how high the mortality rate will be for a while yet.

What we are watching for, is human to human transmission. They say it has happened in 3 clusters, but it is hard to prove, because, people in the same household are also exposed to the same environment.

Technology allows us to see these pandemics in the making very early on. Don't let the low numbers fool you. An avian flu has NEVER racked up numbers this fast, ever. This is the most rapid spread of avian influenza I have ever seen.

Again, I raise poultry, and I am not panicking. I am observing what is going on. At this point, I have done nothing other than my usual hygiene for my chickens. I do plan on building big confinement pens with roofing for my 2 dozen hens, to keep them from migratory birds, but right now, our migratory birds are here and not a threat, as far as I know. I live on a migratory flyway for a lot of waterfowl, so, I am concerned.

I do know that N95 masks go pretty fast. In a pinch, you can use the cheap masks OVER your N95 to make your N95 last longer. You also need goggles. Flu enters thru your eyes as well.

Pandemic SHTF scenarios are no different than the other ones, perhaps they evolve slower, because we have hope that, the disease will be slow, that the systems will still work, etc.

History Channel did a good show, the Day after Armageddon or something like that, regarding a pandemic, and how it will play out, and it was pretty accurate, I think.

That said, we are NOT in a pandemic situation yet. We have a disease in China, with a lot of unanswered questions, that does have the potential to develop into a pandemic, under the 'right' circumstances. It bears watching, but, I think it is fine to go on with our lives and not get too absorbed with H7N9 until we have more information about it. These diseases develop in fits and starts, and it could be weeks before we have answers. I think it just pays to be ready, because once it blows, there will be billions of people competing for limited resources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Oh, a few more things I forgot. There is no vaccine for H7N9 for people or poultry. When they say they are vaccinating poultry, it is probably for H5N1 or they are still vaccinating people for H1N1.

Another thing to consider, the list of the sick skews towards older patients. Of course it would because more of China's people are old. The one child rule was enacted, and thus, there are far fewer people under 40, and even fewer under 20. We will continue to see more people over 50 come down with this disease because there are more of them. Period.

Also, older people still are engaged in professions which put them in greater contact with animals. Often times they are the retired grandparent who goes to the market and gets the live chicken or duck that they prepare for their family. Many families in China live with several generations in one dwelling.

Older people tend to die of seasonal flu at a much higher rate, so it is not surprising that they are getting sick and dying of this more as well. I am not sure this will hold true if H7N9 becomes pandemic and produces a 'cytokine storm'.

If any one is interested in 'cytokine storms' I will gladly go thru the basics of them, but in the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, more young adults died, because a cytokine storm is basically an overstimulated immune system, that kills the patient. Younger and older patients have less vigorous immune systems and therefore a cytokine storm doesn't kill them. Those with the healthiest immune systems die from cytokine storms, and those are usually healthy, vigorous young adults. We do not know if H7N9 produces a cytokine storm. We do know it produces multiorgan failure starting with the lungs, moving on to kidneys and then other organs.

If we do find other people who have survived it with a mild case or other asymptomatic carriers, we will learn more about the disease.

Continue to prep as you plan. I would say for urban preppers, pandemic is a more urgent scenario, because it is harder to survive a pandemic in an urban area. Even shared ventilation systems in apartment buildings could spread the germ. Urban pandemic prepping takes more thought. I would say if bugging out is an option, do it, provided there is no quarantine you have to get thru. The government will quarantine areas if there have been cases. It is feasible you won't be able to leave your area in a pandemic situation, so it is best to watch and anticipate what moves you would make before you end up on the wrong side of the quarantine. If this germ goes human to human, the most likely places it will show up first, are in places with international airports, but the way people travel these days, it could be any where.

Again, we are very, very, very far away from any of this being a reality, but, if it takes off, when it takes off, one must act quickly to ensure your own and your family's safety.

The virus has not yet proven that it is going to sustainably spread from human to human. When it makes that jump, then I will get more nervous and I will certainly keep you informed, if you are interested.
 

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Thank-you VERY much IngaLisa! I would normally click "like", but given the nature of the topic, I think I will just offer my gratitude for your excellent explanation.
 
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