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In Hong Kong, H7N9 Bird Flu Surges Again

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Despite a decline in the number of cases, there is mounting concern about a renewed surge in H7N9 bird flu infections in Hong Kong, this time among hospitalized Chinese and Taiwanese. From this article published in The New York Times on Oct. 8, 2016:

Hong Kong government officials released on Monday new data about a recent spike in infections of the deadly H7N9 bird flu virus.

Twenty-seven people infected with the virus died during the first nine months of this year, three times as many as for the whole of last year, when the city was one of the main transmission centers in a milder outbreak of the disease, according to data from the Health Department.

The cases among Hong Kong residents and visitors came from Taiwan, China and the United States. Of the 27 cases in the first nine months of this year, seven were hospitalized, while the rest were “down under” — in Australia, Europe and the South Pacific. The virus has the ability to live on surfaces as well as in the respiratory system, meaning it can spread in offices, hospitals and other settings.

The strain is similar to the one that caused the first confirmed outbreak of H7N9 in Hong Kong in March 2014. As a result, the government was confronted with more bird flu cases in an earlier time than in earlier decades, where epidemics tended to grow on their own.

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