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H7N9 more prevalent in men and seniors

April 30, 2013

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — Researchers are beginning to agree that influenza A (H7N9), the new avian-human flu crossover, is markedly different in terms of human vulnerability from influenza A (H5N1), the other recent and lethal crossover avian virus, according to the Examiner.

As of Sunday, April 28, 120 cases of human infection had been reported, with most falling severely ill and resulting in 23 deaths, the article stated.

According to the article, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has issued the following update: "The source and mode of transmission have not been confirmed. The outbreak is caused by a reassortant avian influenza virus with low pathogenicity for birds ...  Genetic analyses of the isolates have shown changes which suggest that the H7N9 virus may have greater ability to infect mammalian species, including humans, than most other avian influenza viruses. Pathogenicity for humans appears to be high and higher age appears to be a risk factor for disease."

Previously, the H5N1 outbreak was far more prevalent in young adults than any other age group; however, University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy has recently calculated the median age group infected with H7N9 to be 61.5 years, with the ECDC declaring the median age to be 64, the article noted.

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