People continue to be infected with H7N9 bird flu in China. Fortunately, there is no evidence that this virus is spreading from person-to-person the way seasonal flu does. However, flu viruses are constantly changing and this virus could gain the ability to spread easily among people. At CDC, we are working around-the-clock in China and at home to respond to the global threat posed by H7N9. We are monitoring the situation closely, coordinating response efforts with international and domestic partners, and keeping the public and health providers informed (check out the H7N9 webpage and our recent blog post, H7N9 Influenza: 6 Things You Should Know Now).
We are also taking routine preparedness measures, including developing a candidate vaccine virus that could be used to make a H7N9 vaccine if one is needed. Other important work to learn more about the virus is ongoing in the CDC laboratories. In this short video, Dr. Michael Shaw, associate director for Laboratory Science in the Influenza Division, talks about how CDC’s scientists are studying the genetic sequences of the H7N9 virus. These dedicated scientists are producing results at an amazing speed – leading to a better understanding of the virus, including what drugs can be used to treat it and how the virus might be changing. The bottom line to all this work is improving CDC’s ability to protect people against this emerging public health threat.