It has been described as one of the world’s most lethal flu viruses.
More than 20 people have already died from it in China, and more than 100 are infected.
The new strain of bird flu, the H7N9, has caused such a stir in the medical field that local practitioners are on a drive to educate South Africans on the importance of getting flu vaccines.
“This strain is actually nothing new, but the virus is changing itself… it’s becoming bigger and it is absolutely critical that everyone be vaccinated. It doesn’t appear that any South Africans have contracted or are in danger of the virus. but flu spreads quickly, and while we don’t want to scare people, there needs to be awareness,” said Professor Lynne Webber, head of the medical virology department at the University of Pretoria.
Seconded on people getting flu vaccines…although there IS no available vaccine that would protect against this one, so the point is moot!
What this points up rather strongly is that SA needs a capacity to make emergency response vaccines – because we most definitely will not get any from anyone else, if this one goes pandemic, just as happened in 2009 with the H1N1pdm virus.
See on www.iol.co.za