H7N9 flu

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Know the basics

What is H7N9 flu?

“H7N9” is a subtype of influenza viruses that is sometimes found in birds, but that does not normally infect humans. Like all influenza A viruses, there also are different strains of H7N9. Beginning at the end of March 2013, China reported human and bird (poultry) infections with a new strain of H7N9 that is very different from previously seen H7N9 viruses.

How common is H7N9 flu?

This condition can occur at any age, but it is considered as more popular in the old over 60 years old.

However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of H7N9 flu?

Signs and symptoms of H7N9 flu may start within two to eight days of infection. In most cases, they resemble those of conventional influenza, including:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath

Some people also experience nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. And in a few cases, a mild eye infection (conjunctivitis) is the only indication of the disease.


When should I see my doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes H7N9 flu?

It is believed that this virus has been found in birds (poultry) in China in some of the same areas where human infections have happened. Available evidence suggests that most people have been infected with the virus after having contact with infected poultry or contaminated environments.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for H7N9 flu?

The greatest risk factor for H7N9 seems to be contact with sick birds or with surfaces contaminated by their feathers, saliva or droppings. In very few instances, H7N9 has been transmitted from one human to another. But unless the virus begins to spread more easily among people, infected birds present the greatest hazard.

The pattern of human transmission remains mysterious. People of all ages have contracted H7N9. The average age of those affected by H7N9 was 62.

Recent research suggests that females may be at higher risk of bird flu and its complications. However, it’s not clear exactly why that might be so.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.


How is H7N9 flu diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed and some tests will be also recommended by your doctor. These tests involve collecting a respiratory tract (i.e., nose, throat, lungs) sample from a sick patient and blood test to check for the virus.


How is H7N9 flu treated?                        

Many influenza viruses have become resistant to the effects of a category of antiviral drugs that includes:

  • Amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine)
  • Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
  • Zanamivir (Relenza)

These drugs must be taken within two days after the appearance of symptoms. There is concern, however, that some types of bird flu may be developing resistance to oseltamivir.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage H7N9 flu?

You can reduce your risk by following these useful ways:

  • Currently, the best way to prevent infection with H7N9 flu is to avoid sources of exposure whenever possible. Especially with birds’ saliva, mucous and feces. These virus can spread by entering a person’s eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled.
  • People who work with poultry or who respond to H7N9 flu outbreaks are advised to follow recommended biosecurity and infection control practices; such as protective equipment and careful attention to hand hygiene.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: February 11, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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