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China Bird Virus (H7N9) may be a Silent Threat

Scientists' preliminary assessment of the Chinese bird flu strain that has killed three people in China show that the virus can spread through poultry without showing any symptoms while seriously sickening humans.

Based on preliminary study of the genetic data and Chinese lab testing, the H7N9 virus appears to infect some birds without causing any noticeable symptoms making tracking the virus difficult. In comparison, another bird flu strain, the virulent H5N1 strain, which began ravaging poultry across Asia in 2003 and has killed 360 people worldwide, is easier to track due to obvious disease symptoms in infected poultry.

Also, of note, this strain shows gene assortment that productively selected a virus that allows it to lodge on the surfaces of cells of mammals, making it easier to infect humans.

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