Expert team concludes mission to assess H7N9 virus outbreak in China

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Avian influenza (WHO@PHOTO)

China's response to a deadly outbreak of the H7N9 influenza virus has been exemplary, according to an international expert team which has completed a five-day mission to the country.

The team, which had been invited by the Chinese authorities, says government agencies and local authorities in affected areas acted quickly and shared critical information needed to analyze the situation.

H7N9 normally circulates among birds and there had been no reports of human infections until the cases in China, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

So far, 20 people have died, and the disease has caused sporadic infections in over 100 people.

One concern for the experts is the fact that the virus does not seem to cause visible illness in poultry, making it harder to track and control.

They say the evidence so far is not sufficient to conclude there is person-to-person transmission. However, they add that its potential development cannot be ruled out, which is why the outbreak is being followed so closely.

The team that travelled to China consisted of international and Chinese experts in areas such as epidemiology, virology, and public health. It was led by China's National Health and Family Planning Commission and WHO.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’20″

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