China is continuing to report more and more cases of the new H7N9 Influenza virus. So far they’ve confirmed 108 cases with a death rate of about 20% (21 deaths) All the cases appear to have jumped from birds to humans- meaning that there’s no human-to-human transmission (which is good). One concern is that if a person becomes infected with a seasonal influenza strain and the new H7N9 strain at the same time the viruses could exchange RNA and create a new strain that could be communicable humans to human (which would be bad).
Our Arizona State Laboratory ordered the H7N9 influenza test kits from the CDC this week- and we’ll receive them this morning. Our team will run the first H7N9 test on a sample that came in Thursday evening from a sick AZ resident with a travel history to the parts of China that have been reporting H7N9 influenza. It’s a very low suspect case.