A “new” strain of deadly bird flu dubbed “Disease X” by the World Health Organization (WHO) has killed hundreds of people in China, and is just three mutations away from becoming transmissible between humans, according to experts.
The strain, H7N9, circulates in poultry and has killed 623 people out of 1,625 infected in China – a mortality rate of 38.3%. While first identified in China in 2013, H7N9 has recently emerged as a serious threat seemingly overnight.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer for the UK, told The Telegraph that H7N9 could cause a global outbreak.
“[H7N9] is an example of another virus which has proven its ability to transmit from birds to humans,” said Van-Tam, who added “It’s possible that it could be the cause of the next pandemic.”
The WHO says N7N9 is “an unusually dangerous virus for humans,” and “one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we’ve seen so far”…