FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Researchers release new H7N9 risk assessment

A group of researchers recently released an updated risk assessment of the avian influenza A H7N9 virus, concluding that the severity of the outbreak is less severe than initially estimated.

The researchers looked at all laboratory cases of avian influenza A H7N9 viral infections recorded by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention since May 28 and estimated the risk of mortality, mechanical ventilation and admittance to the intensive care unit. Out of 140 patients infected with the H7N9 virus, 36 percent died as a result of infection, 69 percent were at risk of either fatality or ventilation and 89 percent were at risk for fatality, ventilation and admittance to the intensive care unit, according to The Lancet.

Researchers said the figures were high, but not as severe as previously thought. It is likely, however, that only severe cases of avian influenza A H7N9 viral infections were officially documented by the Chinese CDC. It is believed the potential for an outbreak of mild cases of avian infection is possible and likely; periodic studies are recommended to determine the true risk factor of the virus, The Lancet reports.