In China, people are dying from bird flu. Worryingly, it’s not the H1N1 bird flu that we’d heard of before — it’s a new strain, H7N9, that hasn’t infected humans before.
So far at least four people have died from H7N9. The Google Map below shows all the known cases of the spread of the new strain.
The map comes via George Chen, an editor at the South China Morning Post:
View H7N9 map in a larger map
The scope of the map is worrying in itself, but what’s more worrying is what’s not on it.
H7N9 is almost certainly under-reported — the symptoms described by the World Health organisation (“severe pneumonia” and “fever, cough and shortness of breath”) are far from unique, and those who suspect themselves of having it may have economic reasons for not going to authorities, as China expert Victor Shih tweets:
Chinese hospitals still charging patients of suspected H7N9 steep fees, so patients are deterred from going to hospitals
— Victor Shih (@vshih2) April 4, 2013
There is one bright spark in the case so far: medical experts have investigated 56 people who came into contact with one man with H7N9, Xinhua reports, and none have symptoms, indicating that this strain cannot be transferred between humans.
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