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What You Need To Know About The H7N9 Virus

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(Photo by WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo by WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)

CBS Charlotte (con't)

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(CBS Charlotte) — There’s a new bird flu causing quite a scare in China, and some medical professionals have voiced concern that this may be the worst strain of the virus they’ve ever seen.

There have been 126 cases of the H7N9 strain reported in China, and so far, 23 people have died due to the virus.

While China residents are concerned, there’s some good news. Health officials currently do not see any evidence that the virus is being spread from human-to-human. However, as the virus progresses, it may be able to be transmitted from human-to-human.

Here are some things you should know about the H7N9 virus:

-Previously, the virus was only found in birds. Researchers believe that the virus evolved as wild birds mingled with one another and with domestic flocks.

- Humans are becoming infected with the H7N9 virus after eating poultry.

- If the virus does start to spread human-to-human, the likelihood of a pandemic is almost inevitable.

- When poultry is fully cooked, the H7N9 virus becomes inactive, making it safe to eat — even if the bird had previously been infected.

- According to the CDC, symptoms of H7N9 are a high fever and cough. A large percentage of people infected with the virus have become seriously ill, including developing severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), septic shock and multi-organ failure leading to death.

- Currently, there is no vaccine to protect people from becoming infected with the H7N9 virus.

- There are currently no confirmed reports of  the virus in the United States, however if the virus starts to spread human-to-human, a person traveling from China to our country could infect people in the United States.

-Nichole Jaworski, CBS Charlotte

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