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Editorials Address China’s Response To Emergence Of H7N9 Bird Flu Strain

The following is a summary of editorials addressing China’s response to the emergence of a new strain of bird flu, H7N9.

  • Bloomberg Businessweek: “The H7N9 strain contains gene sequences that make it relatively effective, for a bird virus, at infecting humans and other mammals,” Bloomberg writes. However, “[t]his is no reason to freak out,” the editorial continues, adding, “The world is in a better position to monitor flu strains emerging in China than it was 10 years ago.” The news service writes, “That the Chinese have already reported detailed observations in a major medical journal is evidence of how far their public health system has come since the 2002 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome,” or SARS (4/18).
  • The Economist: “The [Chinese] government responded quickly [to the first three cases of a strain of influenza, H7N9] — a far cry from its reaction, 10 years ago, to a similar cluster of cases in Guangdong” that “turned out to be SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome),” the editorial states. “Even so, H7N9 has infected at least 82 people and killed 17 of them,” the editorial continues, adding, “These cases illustrate both how far the world has come, and how far it still has to travel, on the journey towards building a system that can identify new infectious diseases and snuff them out before they become threatening” (4/20).
  • The Lancet: “[Ten] years on, the shadow of SARS is again hovering over Chinese hearts with the emergence of the novel influenza A (H7N9) virus,” the journal writes. “The Chinese government’s response to H7N9 has been much swifter and more transparent than it was in the SARS outbreak, which has earned praise from the international community,” the editorial continues, noting, “H7N9 presents China with the opportunity to prove its openness and ability to rapidly share information from its well-developed surveillance system and strong research capacity” (4/20).