Researchers find new details about H7N9 in China

Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute announced on Wednesday that they have learned more information regarding the sudden outbreak of the H7N9 influenza in China.

The H7N9 virus is a type of avian flu that was responsible for over 31 deaths in China in April. There have been 130 laboratory-confirmed cases in China, and close contacts of people infected are being closely monitored to make sure the recent outbreak does not grow.

A report published in PLOS Currents: Outbreaks shows that there is something unique about the older patients that have contracted the influenza. The researchers found that their inclination to contract the disease comes not just from their extra exposure to live birds, but fromof other factors as well.

"Normally we have to wait for epidemiologists to collect new data in the early days if an outbreak," Caitlin Rivers, a graduate student and research assistant at the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory, said. "We were able to combine data from existing sources in an innovative way to rapidly learn about H7N9 risk factors."

The researchers complied various risk factors that could have helped the spread of the flu. Their results are open to the public and the researchers hope others can expand on the work.