Return of the H7N9 flu virus

Looks like the H7N9 avian flu virus might return in China. After the H7N9 influenza strain that caused many deaths in China disappeared over the summer, there is new concern that it may be coming back as winter weather approaches.

A total of 135 cases including 45 deaths were registered in the outbreak last spring. Since most of the cases had contact with live poultry markets, the markets were shut down temporarily, and this seemed to control the spread of this virus. However, since mid-August, 4 new cases have been reported from Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces. These cases may represent the beginning of a new outbreak.

Because contact with live poultry is a high risk for infection by this virus, travellers to China should avoid visiting live poultry markets and follow flu prevention measures, such as frequent hand washing.