Updated on 7 June 2013
World Health Organization Director-General Dr Margaret Chan assured that the immediate threat from the H7N9 avian influenza is now over
Singapore: The World Health Organization (WHO) director general, Dr Margaret Chan, assured that the immediate threat from the H7N9 avian influenza virus is over.
Speaking at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr Chan pointed out that no new laboratory confirmed cases of human infection with H7N9 virus have been reported to the WHO since May 8. She further pointed out that four additional deaths have been reported by the National Health and Family Planning Commission in China from the previous confirmed cases.
As per the WHO statistics, 131 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 36 deaths have been reported from the country. Appreciating the swift response by China in closing live poultry markets, Dr Chan said that this was the reason number of new cases dropped dramatically.
"At the end of March this year, China reported the first-ever human infections with the H7N9 avian influenza virus. Within three weeks, more than 100 additional cases were confirmed. Although the source of human infection with the virus is not yet fully understood, the number of new cases dropped dramatically following the closing of live bird markets," she said.
Unlike with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus, no human-to-human transmission was detected with the H7N9 virus and all cases were traced to contact with live poultry.