Since February, there have been six bird flu deaths in China as health officials race to prevent the disease from spreading further. A Xinhua news agency reported that the latest outbreak of the bird flu virus, or H7N9, could have been carried by pigeons collected from a marketplace in Shanghai. As health professionals examine how the virus can infect humans, they have found that there is no "evidence yet of human-to-human transmission," but they have found the virus found in the pigeons to be "high con-genetic with those found on persons infected with H7N9."
In attempts to prevent further spread of the outbreak, Chinese officials have ordered the slaughtering of poultry at local markets. As fear pervades the country, Chinese airlines have seen a significant drop in their shares, causing concern that the recent bird flu deaths will hinder travel demand. Shares in chicken feed also face a significant drop, as soybean, a major ingredient in chicken feed, drops in price. Meanwhile, the Huhuai market in Shanghai was shut down by the government as all the birds were being collected and brought in for testing.
Here in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that they would be closely monitoring the recent cases of bird flu, and as an extra precaution they have begun working on a new vaccine. CDC spokesman Tom Skinner spoke to Reuter’s staff and stated that "the agency is monitoring the situation closely and working with its domestic and international partners." In addition to this, in order to review genetic sequence information, they have begun making a "seed" virus, which is a "genetically modified version of the virus that could be used by manufacturers to make a vaccine."
On Wednesday the World Health Organization softened the world’s fears of a pandemic to rest, ruling the possibility out because the subtype of the H7N9 virus is not transferable through human-to-human interaction. However, there remains significant emphasis on identifying the source and working to reduce human exposure to the virus.