(RxWiki News) Officials across the globe have been closely watching the developments of bird flu cases in China, and now the zone being monitored has expanded.
The first confirmed case of the H7N9 strain of avian influenza has been reported outside of mainland China.
"Sneeze into a tissue to reduce the spread of germs."
According to the Financial Times, a 53-year-old Taiwanese patient has been discovered and is in critical condition.
The man was traveling in the Jiangsu province of China and returned home to Taiwan by way of Shanghai.
“The man had a fever, cough and a running nose when he arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and was sent directly to a hospital for tests where he was confirmed to have H7N9,” reported People’s Daily Online.
The news of this case in Taiwan was reported as officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of the seriousness of this flu.
According to the Financial Times, Keiji Fukuda, MD, a WHO official, said Wednesday at a Beijing briefing, “This is an unusually dangerous virus for humans, one of the most lethal influenza viruses we have seen so far.”
Dr. Fukuda, who is WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security, also stressed that researchers are only beginning to understand the H7N9 strain and how it functions.
There have been conflicting reports about concerns of human-to-human transmission of the virus. Dr. Fukuda’s opening statement from Wednesday’s briefing addressed these concerns.
“Evidence so far is not sufficient to conclude there is person to person transmission," said Dr. Fukuda. "Moreover, no sustained person to person transmission has been found.”
However, he continued, “We want to note that if limited person to person transmission is demonstrated in the future, it will not be surprising.”
According to People’s Daily, 108 cases of the avian flu and 23 deaths resulting from infection have been confirmed.
As previously reported by dailyRx News, a number of researchers and health organizations around the globe are monitoring the virus’ spread and working on vaccines.