The first cases of a novel strain of avian influenza A (H7N9) were reported in China at the end of March, 2013. H7N9 is a sub-type of influenza A that can be found in birds but has not been found in humans before recently. Most of these cases started with flu-like symptoms that progressed to severe respiratory illness. Currently no cases of this new strain of H7N9 have been reported in birds or humans in the United States.
All human cases appear to have stemmed from contact with infected poultry or a contaminated environment. Health officials are monitoring this virus closely to determine its’ ability to easily spread from person-to-person, which could indicate the beginning of a pandemic.
Presently, vaccine manufacturers are working on a vaccine in coordination with the CDC in the event of a pandemic. Travel restrictions are not recommended at this time as a preventative measure. The best prevention includes washing your hands and covering your mouth or nose with a tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze.
For the most up-to-date information about avian influenza A (H7N9), including update case counts, visit the following websites:
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. Coronaviruses are fairly common and usually cause a short-lived mild-to-moderate upper respiratory illness. MERS-CoV is different than other coronaviruses as previously found in people. It has caused severe acute respiratory illness in all infected individuals and approximately half of them have died. There is concern with the high mortality rate and the ability to spread person-to-person and country-to-country. The majority of the cases have been in Saudi Arabia and some clusters have been reported in Jordan, the UK, the United Arab Emirates, France, Tunisia, Qatar, and Italy. Currently, no cases of MERS CoV have been reported in the United States.
There is no vaccine available at this time and any treatment is supportive. Basic precautions should be followed to prevent respiratory illness such as washing your hands and covering your mouth or nose when you sneeze. Anyone who develops severe acute lower respiratory illness within 14 days of traveling to the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries should be evaluated to rule out MERS CoV.
For the most up-to-date information about (MERS-CoV), including update case counts, visit the following websites: