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Potential For ‘New Epidemic Wave’ Of H7N9 Cases In China, Scientists Warn

“Fresh human cases in eastern China of [the H7N9] strain of bird flu signal the potential for ‘a new epidemic wave’ of the disease in coming winter months, scientists said on Thursday,” Reuters reports. “[A] new case in October in a 35-year-old man from China’s eastern Zhejiang province shows that the virus ‘has re-emerged in winter 2013’ and ‘indicates a possible risk of a larger outbreak of H7N9 this winter,’ according to Chinese researchers writing in the online journal Eurosurveillance,” the news service writes. “In a detailed analysis of the 35-year-old man’s case, scientists from the Zhejiang Provincial Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said it differed from previous ones in that it was a severe case in a younger patient ‘with no obvious underlying diseases and no obvious recent direct contact with live poultry,'” Reuters notes, adding “The researchers said that based on China’s experience in the spring, when there were 30 cases in March and 88 in April, the best approach now would be to maintain enhanced and expanded surveillance in human and animal populations to make sure any new cases of H7N9 are picked up and diagnosed swiftly” (10/24).